Some of bassist Gary Peacock's earliest musical associations speak to a career that has been nurtured by unusually well-rounded experiences. Subbing for Ron Carter
in gigs with Miles Davis
, playing with the Bill Evans
Trio and pianist Paul Bley
and a stay with saxophonist Albert Ayler
provided Peacock with foundations that ran the gamut from main-stream balladry, to conceptually modern jazz to the most unrestricted free jazz. All of which led up to the three-decades long relationship with Keith Jarrett
and drummer Jack DeJohnette
for which he is best known and where his finely developed skills lend themselves to that highly innovative group.
With a very different trio, Now This
is often darkly lyrical with a quiet dignity. Drummer Joey Baron
who often draws comparisons to Paul Motian
has never sounded more like the late drummer with a masterfully subtle touch. Pianist Marc Copland
has worked with Peacock in various settings for three decades and is a master of harmonics. His work with guitarist John Abercrombie
, saxophonist Greg Osby
and bassist Drew Gress
have earned high praise while Copland has remained puzzlingly under-recognized as one of the finest pianists and composers on the scene.
"Gaia" and "Shadows" the first to pieces on Now This
are brooding and unhurried but are followed by "This" where a bit more dissonance is propelled by Baron's refined but forceful playing. Copland pushes that avant-garde essence as he guides the trio through "And Now," "Esprit de muse" and "Moor" the latter two being faster-paced and more complex numbers. Copland's fascinating composition, "Noh Blues," only hints at blues while providing a perfect backdrop for solos and interesting group interchanges. Throughout the pieces Peacock explores the full range of the bass pushing and pulling the music with him through unexpected turns.
There is not a wasted note to be found on Now This
where the compositionssome re-worked, others, newstrongly suggest a portentous air. Peacock, Copland and Baron expertly develop the pieces in that light so that, despite the overriding thoughtfulness, it is never certain in which direction the journey is moving. Now This
is an thought-provoking collection rendered by brilliant performers.
Gaia; Shadows; This; And Now; Esprit de muse; Moor; Noh Blues; Christa; ;Vignette; Gloria's Step; Requiem.
Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: double bass; Joey Baron: drums.