A sampling of reviews....
"The piano whisperer….The most exciting and versatile contemporary jazz
close to rapture, one of the albums of the year....Copland has revived the piano
trio, and with Night Whispers created another masterpiece….When Marc Copland
plays, your hair lifts off of your arms! A true master of our beloved art form….
His music is a blessing….A modern masterpiece, not since Bill Evans has a pianist so thoroughly exposed
himself through his music….Jazz at its absolute finest….Five stars--Copland, Gress and Stewart are masters of fine nuances…. An introverted genius, intuition
leads him everywhere....A watershed, a career milestone, it would be almost
criminal were this group to be but a one-time affair….Spontaneous, tasteful,
goal-driven and now in his prime, Marc Copland’s work has grown to the point
where he is one of the leading jazz pianists of his generation…..His harmonic ingenuity is
amazing....Copland is just an astonishingly talented player and a musician in
every sense of the word. This trio is endlessly creative and original…. Every
understated note or chord is full to the brim with unspoken emotion. His music
is dynamic without exhibitionism or brashness. It builds from some deep and
hidden source that allows him to express himself so beautifully….I don't know
about you, but I love the unexpected. Taking a musical masterpiece to places
previously unknown is the sign of someone unsatisfied with playing by rote.
Copland and his New York Trio take this music out for a long and rewarding walk.
I suggest you tag along….This multifaceted album proves that Copland is rightly
considered one of the most important jazz pianists of this decade….a highly
sensitive musician, a totally independent harmonic concept. Despite previous
great recordings with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, the current trio with Bill
Stewart and Drew Gress seems to be his ultimate dream team--the three work
together perfectly….This multifaceted album proves that Copland is rightly
considered one of the most important jazz pianists of this decade….A disc of
excitement, a magnificent instrumental presence.…Five stars, a
true master of enchantment…This CD proves anew that Marc Copland is one
of the most important pianists of our time….This third volume of the New York
trio series is without doubt the best. One hears a different kind of piano, that
jazz hasn't seen in a long time. By the use of the pedals Copland modifies the
color of the notes, diminishing or lengthening their resonance, making them
sparkle.....This reviewer can listen to him all night."
A spellbinder....he hears sounds no one else does....a probingly original mind....jazz as it was meant to be....there is nothing comparable….he perfect leader....the poet of the piano....if you want a romantic lushness there is no one better....a quiet giant of his instrument....a Wild West pioneer....one of the most original pianists in jazz....one of the best contemporary pianists of our time....one of the most distinctive pianists....Copland is remarkable....so inventive....one of the absolute current leaders in contemporary jazz trio....look no further for the art of the trio, this is it....perhaps no better current trio....an exuberant imagination, his playing has a character all its own....five stars....#1 acoustic pianist....cd of this year, or any other….a beautiful record."
[sources: allaboutjazz/NY (USA), allaboutjazz.com (USA), Boston Globe (USA), cabaretexchange.com (USA), jazz.com (USA), jazzreview.com (USA), NY Times (USA), Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Tribuna da Imprensa (Brazil), Jazz Magagzine (France), Jazzman (France), Jazz Podium (Germany), Jazz Thing (Germany), , Piano News (Germany), Rondo (Germany), Irish Times (Dublin), Jazz e Arredos (Portugal)]]
The Boston Globe
"Transcendent…makes one realize how ordinary, how formulaic, so much of the rest of today's music has become….these guys don't need a leader."
An evening of jazz the way it was meant to be -- improvised
By Steve Greenlee, Globe Staff | February 17, 2007
The spontaneous creation of music -- jazz, real jazz -- can be magical. Often what we hear in the jazz clubs is a tightly scheduled series of solos -- first the sax, then the piano, then the bass, then the drums -- bookended by the heads of standards that the band plays in order as prescribed by a set list. Yeah, there's jazz in there, sure, but you can hardly call that spontaneity.
Thursday night at the Regattabar was one of those transcendent evenings that can make one realize how ordinary, how formulaic, so much of the rest of today's music has become. Pianist Marc Copland , bassist Gary Peacock , and drummer Bill Stewart created art out of nothing. They arrived without a set list, and some of the tunes weren't even songs; they were sketches composed on the spot through the art of improvisation. It wasn't clear, either, who was leading the group -- the album the trio recently released is under Copland's name, and the concert gave Peacock (the best known of the three) top billing, but it seemed more likely that these guys don't need a leader. No tunes were announced. There was no chatter with the audience. Songs often began with Copland shrugging his shoulders toward Peacock, as if to say, "What do you want to play?" Peacock returned an "I don't know" look and would say aloud, "Start something."
They sure did.
Peacock began the concert with a bluesy, facile solo that launched the trio into an exploratory take of Sonny Rollins's "Doxy" that had the musicians thinking and feeling their way through the tune, Stewart driving the train with his propulsive drumming and Copland spiraling further and further from the theme. They followed it with a free, unnamed improvisation that sounded like a light rain turning into thunder -- brushes on cymbals leading to Copland's thick chords and splashing arpeggios. A lovely ballad called "At Night" that centered on a gentle, eight-note figure was pretty without being precious, and the musicians seemed to surprise themselves by abandoning the softness midway through and taking up a funky groove for maybe 32 bars. They ended the first set with a churning, volatile version of "Stella by Starlight." After the set Copland told me he had never played the song in that particular key before. Yes, that's real jazz for you.
The Boston Globe
Three's good company
By Steve Greenlee | February 13, 2007
It's amazing, really, that after all these years the most basic of jazz combos -- the piano trio -- continues to find new things to say. Look at what Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau do. And now look at what Marc Copland has done. Copland is no newbie; at 58, he's been making records since the early '70s. But he's really come into his own over the past several years, and here is an immensely rewarding album whose success is owed equally to Copland's vision and to the outstanding symbiosis of the group, which features Gary Peacock (longtime member of Jarrett's trio) on bass and Bill Stewart on drums. The trio is more interested in creating textures and moods than dazzling with solos, whether playing their own fanciful little sketches, ballads such as Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Modinha," or Peacock's cheeky "Half a Finger Snap." Copland's beautifully recorded disc leaves us wanting more, and he promises to deliver -- volumes 2 and 3, he says, will feature two new lineups. [Steve Greenlee]
No Choice (Minium)--Marc Copland and Bill Carrothers, piano duets
MARC COPLAND-BILL CARROTHERS
NATIONAL CONCERT HALL Sept. 12, 2006
Pianists Marc Copland and Bill Carrothers treated the audience to duetting of rare depth, sensitivity and accomplishment. It was a continuous sonic adventure couched in terms of great beauty, owing as much to classical influences as to jazz.
Both are formidably equipped for the task. Harmonically they can go anywhere their imagination takes them, each has a wonderfully expressive touch just sufficiently differentiated to add further contrast to the music, and their mutual responsiveness was a constant delight. Temperamentally, too, they complement each other, with Carrothers the more overtly humorous, Copland the more introspective – not that either is lacking each quality in the other.
A striking characteristic of their duetting also was its clarity of focus. While the lead constantly changed hands, even for the briefest of periods, neither the structure of the performance, its dramatic shape, nor its dynamics were ever in doubt. It was all accomplished, off the cuff, in an improvised setting, with enviable authority.
Although much of the repertoire was drawn from their new CD, there was no sense that this was done for the comfort of the familiar. As Copland explained some time into the concert, they had come out with a set list, but that was rapidly forgotten as they simply went wherever the spirit took them.
The music had already made this abundantly clear. They had edged delicately into Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman, less bleak but just as breath-takingly beautiful as on the CD, and reassessed You And The Night And The Music in terms of line and radically re-dressed it harmonically, before it morphed into Neil Young’s The Needle And The Damage Done – with O’Donnell Abu thrown in as an occasional and wittily dissected motif!
Carrothers then turned Take The ‘A’ Train briefly into a mock pompous march and seized the initiative to produce a superbly swinging solo, before they took the piece through several changes of tempo and mood in an exhilarating romp. In the freely improvised episode that followed, the surprising motif from the Neil Young performance resurfaced, but much more delicately, becoming a prelude to a gorgeously explored My Funny Valentine set up by Carrothers’ suggestive chords
But if there was one single performance from this night of outstanding music to cherish in particular, it was Blue In Green, Miles Davis’s (but really Bill Evans’s) melancholy reflection. It was set up by a lengthy, ruminative, back-and-forth, freely explored improvisation before the theme became anything like explicit, and then became a vehicle for a series of variations spellbinding in their inventiveness and compelling in their sheer poetry of sound.
Their was still time for more beauty, including Bill Carrothers delving into Stephen Foster’s Oh, Susannah and the traditional Barbara Allen, and an encore that was a lesson in how to turn a tired, hackneyed tune like Danny Boy into pure gold. It was a privilege to be there. ' --Irish Times/Ireland
...deux pianistes trop courtois peuvent se neutraliser ; trop narcissiques et compétitifs, ils peuvent faire assaut de virtuosité au point d’en oublier la musique....Avec Bill Carrothers et Marc Copland, amis dans la vie, pas concurrents pour un sou, amoureux du piano sans en faire une religion, la surprise est différente : les deux pianos sonnent comme un seul, magnifié, joué par un être à quatre mains et une seule tête en état de haute créativité...(ils) , inventent une forme qui n’est ni dialogue questions-réponses, ni échange de vues, ni quête d’un impossible unisson, mais improvisation simultanée grâce à un courant de pensée qui n’appartient ni à l’un ni à l’autre. Advient alors la beauté à l’état pur, comme si elle s’était imposée d’elle-même aux deux exécutants « mesmérisés » par le silence qu’ils écoutent." --Telerama/France, Juin 2006
...two pianists who are two courteous can neutralize
each other; if too narcissistic and competitive, they can assault each
other to the point of forgetting the music....with Bill Carrothers and Marc
Copland, who are friends, and not competitors even for one cent, in love with
the piano without making it into a religion, the surprise is different:
the two pianos sound as one, magnified, as if played by a being with four hands
and one brain in a state of heightened creativity...they invent a form that's
neither a dialog of questions and answers, nor and exchange of views, nor a
quest for an impossible unison, but rather simultaneous improvisation, graced
with a stream of thought that belongs neither to one or the other. They
arrive, then, at a beauty in a pure state, as if she had imposed herself on the
two as if the were channels, hypnotized by the silence that they hear." --Telerama/France,
Both/And (Nagel-Heyer)--Marc Copland/Randy Brecker/Ed Howard/Victor Lewis
"A meeting of heavyweights in every sense of the word, Brecker and Copland have lined up an impressive-sounding quartet here...get past Copland's easy-listening facade and underneath you will discover an acute, progressive mind. Alongside Brecker, himself a crisp, unfussed technician, here we have a meeting of two very imaginative souls...an exciting marriage for sure." --Jazz Review (UK)
"Copland is one of the most distinctive jazz pianists
alive, so this meeting with his longtime friend, trumpeter Randy Brecker, raises
special expectations. They're realized. The pianist's harmonic sense
is sheer poetry, in composition, soloing, and comping. Just listen to his
responses to Brecker in the coda of the gorgeous I Loves You Porgy, and
their impact on the trumpeter. Copland's grasp of solo line and the arc of
a performance are also uncanny. And I doubt if Brecker has ever played
better on record. Sheer pleasure." --Irish Times (Ireland)
"In recent years Marc Copland has been honing an introspective approach to the piano that’s as heavy on substance as it is on style...Copland’s approach to harmony is as distinctive and abstract as ever, but in the company of Brecker, bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis--two frequent collaborators with great chemistry--he delivers his most swinging set in years.
Randy Brecker remains one of the busiest and most versatile horn players in and out of jazz. Trumpeters like Dave Douglas receive so much press these days, well-deserved though it may be, that it’s easy to forget the breadth of Brecker’s reach. Equally comfortable with funk, fusion and mainstream jazz, Brecker has not allowed his ability to navigate any context to dilute his singular voice, which can exploit the entire range of his instrument, but avoids the brashness of players who always go for the high notes. His own discography as a leader may be inconsistent, but Both/And is his best record in years.
There’s an odd tension about Both/And, largely due to Copland’s unorthodox way of reharmonizing even the most conventional material. Lee Morgan’s classic “The Sidewinder” is as soulful, funky and swinging as ever, thanks to Howard and Lewis’ simpatico support. But the familiar theme is broken up, and Copland’s accompaniment helps take the song places Morgan could not have imagined. And while he alludes to a more orthodox approach on the disc’s only standard--an elegant take on Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy”--Copland straddles the fine line between playing it straight and turning it on its side. Brecker’s tone is so warm throughout that one might be misled into thinking he’s playing a flugelhorn.
The rest of Both/And consists of originals--five Copland tunes and a midtempo modal workout by Brecker, “Over the Hills,” where he proves that he’s still one of the best post-bop trumpeters of any generation....
One sign of masterful artistry is the ability to take a conventional context and skew it, remaining accessible while challenging the listener to travel to unexpected places. That very characteristic is what elevates Both/And beyond the contemporary mainstream." AllAboutJazz.com/USA
Some Love Songs (Pirouet)--Marc Copland/Drew Gress, bass/Jochen Rueckert, drums
"Were almost any other artist to put out an album called Some Love Songs, we might expect an album filled with saccharine sentimentality and syrupy romance. When pianist Marc Copland does it, though, chances are its going to be a lot more like the reality of love—complex and multifaceted, as bittersweet as it is tender, and as ambiguous as it is unmistakable...If anything, the trio has become even more intimate and more finely-attuned to their individual and collective subtleties." --AllAboutJazz.com
"Five Stars...Copland is remarkable: delicately adjusting line and harmony, constantly confounding expectations, he reconciles surprise with inevitabliity, each performance balancing logic and lyric beauty. It's as if things are refracted through a creative sensibility in which the familiar is refreshed and the new presented complete, such is Copland's inventiveness - and the sure-footed richness of this trio's dialogue." --Irish Times
Time Within Time (Hatology)--Marc Copland, solo piano
“Five stars…Anyone lucky enough to have heard Copland's solo concerts here
will know that this further example of his extraordinary ability in this most
demanding of formats will be quite unlike that of any other pianist's. He hears
sounds no one else does and his harmonic sensibility is expressed with
spellbinding delicacy and satisfying ambiguity.” --Irish Times
“A pianist who, quietly and without any fuss, is emerging as one of the most significant pianists of the last twenty years.. Time Within Time is a rich and hauntingly beautiful recording from an artist whose eye is always on the core of song, and whose formidable abilities are always the means, never the end."
"Time Within Time ist ein Meisterwerk"-- Rondo
"Full of eloquent and elegant music-making."--Signal to Noise
“Diese Musik wird langer haltbar bleiben als manches marktschreierische Prestigeunternehmen.”—Weltwoche
"...a fine example of Copland’s command of pianistic color. His command of articulation, music box clear at times, misty and slurred at others, gives him the ability to probe the emotional depths of these pieces. He projects the shading of feeling much as a great actor can. He’s sensitive to the resources inherent not only in the piano in general but also to the specific instrument at hand... .Copland uses these particularities of tone to heighten a certain sense of vulnerability. But what is most notable is the way everything comes together for a masterful, rewarding recital of great musical and emotional depth."--OneFinalNote.com
"Five stars...er definiert sie gnadenlos neu, formt sie um zu einer
personlichen, grosartigen und zeitgemasen Weltsprache." --Fono Forum
“Fast schon ein Wunder.” –Hannoversche Allgemeine
"Copland injects cerebral underpinnings with deep-rooted emotive characteristics. That unto itself is a tall order for a musician. Yet, Copland pulls it off in rather poignant fashion during this quietly penetrating release. Strongly recommended…-"-jazzreview.com
Night Call (Nagel Heyer)--Marc Copland (p), Greg Osby (alto sax)
“One of the year’s ten best.” --Giddins, Jazz Times (USA)
“There's only a small percentage of pianists who are so distinctive as to be immediately recognizable. Marc Copland is one of them.” –AllAboutJazz.com /Schlesinger(USA)
“What is remarkable about Copland's playing is how so much is
implied with so little; one can feel a richer sense of orchestration
with the barest of statements.” Ibid/Binder (USA)
What It Says (Sketch)
Marc Copland (p), Gary Peacock (b)
(four f’s---HIGHEST RATING)
Marc Copland & Gary Peacock
WHAT IT SAYS
A small, independent record company, founded four years ago by a graphic artist who’s a jazz fan to reissue one of his favorites that had fallen by the wayside, HUM (Humair, Urtreger, Michelot), Sketch shows the way in a chaotic market: releasing the best. To construct a catalog where each new CD contributes to a concept of jazz open to the winds of creation.
The 40th release of this label (which has issued nothing trite), What it Says from the piano/bass duo of Marc Copland and Gary Peacock, speaks to the ear with calmness, but also with authority. A very rare mixture of density in melodic thought, of serenity, of urgency. A music with all unnecessary chatter squeezed out. Gary Peacock, one can imagine him sometimes exhausted by the charms of Keith Jarrett for quite some time. With Marc Copland, a late blooming and all the more convincing pianist, he rediscovers a vigor of response and suggestion that shapes from their quest a dialog at the highest level. What they find together thrills from start to finish. As if they had discovered together a new musical sense: everything is considered, nothing’s taken for granted. --Michel Contat
Petite maison de disques indépendante fondée il y a quatre ans (par un
graphiste parisien fondu de jazz) pour republier un de ses disques préférés tombé en déshérence, HUM (Humair, Urtreger, Michelot), Sketch
montre la voie dans la débandade phonographique générale : la sortie par le haut. Constituer un catalogue où chaque nouveau disque contribue
à une idée du jazz ouverte aux vents de la création.Quarantième album du label, qui n'en a pas sorti un seul de banal, What
it says, du duo piano et contrebasse de Marc Copland et Gary Peacock, parle à l'oreille avec douceur mais aussi autorité. Très rare mixture
de densité dans la réflexion mélodique, de sérénité, d'urgence. Une musique essorée de tout bavardage. Gary Peacock, on peut l'imaginer
parfois épuisé par les charmes de Keith Jarrett, depuis le temps. Il retrouve avec Marc Copland, pianiste à l'épanouissement tardif et d'autant plus convaincant, une vigueur de réponse et de proposition qui font de leur recherche un dialogue au sommet. Ce qu'ils trouvent ensemble passionne du début à la fin. Comme s'ils découvraient un sens nouveau à la musique : tout est donné, rien n'est gratuit. --Michel Contat
What It Says Marc Copland/Gary Peacock | Sketch
With a brooding approach that is nonetheless elegant in its delicacy, pianist Marc Copland teams up for yet another series of outstanding duets, this time with double-bassist Gary Peacock. What It Says represents some of Copland’s most impressionistically abstract work and, for Peacock, his most successful duet outing this side of his work with Ralph Towner.
The pairing of Peacock and Copland is not exactly new; Peacock played on Copland’s 1998 Savoy date, Softly… , albeit in more traditional trio, quartet and quintet settings. By paring things down to the barest essentials, they have created a recording of quiet beauty; dark and mysterious, this is chamber jazz at its best.
Most telling are the two separate versions of Peacock’s piece “Vignette.” The first, a more rhythmically-propelled interpretation of a characteristically-spare motif, finds first Copland and then Peacock soloing with the kind of sheer lyricism that is almost painful in its simplicity. The album closes with the second reading, this time a solo rendition from Copland, where the harmonies are less direct, more abstruse.
Another Peacock piece, “Requiem,” bears comparison to the version on the Marilyn Crispell trio recording from 2001, Amaryllis, as it so succinctly defines the difference between the two pianists. Crispell comes at the piece from a slightly more jagged, avant edge; Copland from a more romantic impressionistic point of view. Both are beautiful versions, but Copland is clearly the more graceful of the two.
Peacock, now nearing his sixth decade of performing, always manages to create an environment that is unpredictable and full of surprise. He has the remarkable capa- bility, especially when in matched company, of managing to imply things that aren’t there; it is part of the magic between these two players that on a piece like Copland’s “Around in the Air” there is a palpable pulse even though one is not strictly being played.
Gracing the five Peacock and four Copland compositions are three improvisations that truly demonstrate Peacock’s concept of spontaneous composition. “Call & Answer,” in particular, is remarkable as each player first responds to and then develops and extrapolates on the other’s presented motifs. For those who think that free improvisation implies no sense of structure or composition, these three pieces are as good a place as any to change that mindset.
That Peacock should be capable of music with this much dignity should be no surprise; neither should it be especially surprising from Copland who, while a late starter on his chosen instrument, continues to develop a personal approach that combines the best of American and European traditions. What It Says is another fine recording from France’s Sketch Records, a label that is joining a select group of independents with an uncompromising sense of artistry, and a distinctive personality; Copland and Peacock have managed to capture the essence of the material in a programme that is rich in ambience and deep in emotion.
Marc Copland-Gary Peacock
Jazzman (France) Feb 2004
CHOC (best of the month)
The two men know how to show mutual appreciation; in this way fans have been treasuring the souvenirs of a radiant collaboration, in trio with drummer Billy Hart (Sunnyside, 1992), and beautiful moments shared with Bill Stewart and others on the CD “Softly,” recorded by the pianist for Savoy/Denon five years later. But what happens here seems still more like a masterpiece. What pianist could in this way revisit Peacock’s Vignette, putting his own stamp on it without distorting its contents? (Peacock created this theme with Keith jarrett and Jack DeJohnette in 1977, on the album “Tales of Another”--released under the bassist’s name, in the days before the existence of the “Standards” trio). What pianist could glide in the atmosphere of “Requiem” (from Peacock as well), immortalized in 1987 on the album “Guamba,” one of the bassist’s most beautiful successes? In this universe-filled with echoes, reverberating crystals, undulating movements (From the Well)--which Marc Copland knows so well how to suggest--Gary Peacock responds here with totally liberated play (Skim), almost rejuvenated (Talkin’Blues), all while being careful to play as the sole partner (Around in the Air, In a Dance). Magnificent.
Jazz Magazine (France), Feb. 2004
Disque D’Emoi (Disc of Excitement)
What It Says (Sketch SKE333040/Harmonia Mundi). Copland (p), Peacock (b).
Didn’t you know? Since the beginning of the 20th century, Claude Debussy removed the hands from the clock to undertake time travel. His body stirred no longer (so everyone thought he was sleeping), but his soul wandered merrily...In this way, he was able to find himself in 1721 in the cathedral at Clermont-Ferrand to relish the organ improvisations of Jean-Philippe Rameau, or in 1965 in Paris to delight in the music of the future--which often horrified him. One day, an unexpected hiccup from his secret machine (only his friend Satie suspected its existence, but one would have called him crazy if he’d mentioned it) sent him to the beginning of the 21st century, in January 2004, to the editorial department of Jazz Magazine! Two people were listening to a new CD--no sound support surprised Debussy, he’d seen all manner of technology revolutions in his travels--the booklet, very beautiful, was sitting open in front of “the chain” (what a funny name!) The jazz music that issued forth grabbed his attention immediately. The marvelous sound of this piano, the wood-ish power of this bass, the incredible orchestral richness with these two musicians made to surge from their instruments, all of it fascinated him. Profoundly moved, he recognized his influence here with a chord, there with a scrap of melody. This manner of harmonic mist, this rhythmic liberty, all that wasn’t there to displease him. In an earlier trip to Chicago in October, 1940, he’d discovered another duo of the same sort: Duke Ellington and Jimmy Blanton. That one was at the same time similar and different: the letter wasn’t the same to be sure, but the spirit was. These musicians knew how to listen to each other, to create a world, to converse as two gentlemen whose instrumental distinction had no equal in undeniable musical culture. And then, this mysterious quality called swing, he heard that also. It seemed to him almost implicit, like soft felt, rustling under each note. If he could he would have stayed there forever, but the mechanical needs of his machine, as well as his insatiable curiosity, made him depart for another space-time. But he would never forget the excitement aroused by this Marc Copland and this Gary Peacock. --Frederic Goaty
Jazz Magazine, Janvier 2004
Marc Copland-Gary Peacock
What It Says (Sketch SKE333040/Harmonia Mundi). Copland (p), Peacock (b).
Le saviez-vous ? Dès le début du XXe siècle Claude Debussy ôtait lui aussi les aiguilles des horloges pour entreprendre des voyages dans le temps. Son corps ne bougeait plus (tout le monde croyait alors qu’il dormait), mais son âme, elle, vagabondait gaiement... Ainsi, pouvait-il aussi bien se retrouver en 1721 en la cathédrale de Clermont-Ferrand pour déguster les improvisations à l’orgue de Jean-Philippe Rameau, ou en 1965 à Paris pour se délecter de la musique du futur – qui souvent l’horrifiait. Un jour, une ruade hasardeuse de sa machine secrète (seul son ami Satie en soupçonnait l’existence, mais on le traitait de “fou” ou de “mystique” dès qu’il y faisait allusion) l’envoya au début du XXIe siècle, en janvier 2004, au beau milieu de la rédaction de Jazz Magazine ! Deux personnes étaient en train d’écouter un compact – aucun support phonographique n’étonnait Debussy : ses “voyages” lui avaient fait traverser toutes les révolutions technologiques... La pochette, très belle, était posée devant “la chaîne” (quel drôle de nom !). La musique de jazz qu’elle diffusait le saisit tout de suite. Le son merveilleux de ce piano, la puissance boisée de cette contrebasse, l’incroyable richesse orchestrale que ces deux musiciens faisaient surgir de leur instrument, tout le fascinait. Profondément ému, il percevait son influence au détour d’un accord, d’une bribe mélodique. Cette manière de brume harmonique, cette liberté rythmique, tout ça n’était pas pour lui déplaire. Un précédent voyage à Chicago, en octobre 1940, lui avait fait découvrir un autre duo du même acabit : Duke Ellington et Jimmy Blanton. Celui-ci en était à la fois proche et lointain : la lettre n’était plus la même, bien sûr, mais l’esprit était toujours là. Ces musiciens savaient s’écouter, s’inventer un monde, converser comme deux gentlemen dont la distinction instrumentale n’avait d’égal que l’incontestable culture musicale. Et puis, ce liant mystérieux qu’on appelait le swing, il le percevait aussi. Il lui semblait ici presque implicite, comme feutré, bruissant sous chaque note. S’il avait pu, il serait bien resté là pour toujours, mais les rigueurs mécaniques de sa machine, tout autant que son insatiable curiosité, le firent repartir vers d’autres espaces-temps. Mais jamais il n’oublia l’émoi suscité par ce Marc Copland et ce Gary Peacock. --Frederic Goaty
Nouvel Observateur (France, like Time magazine)
“Heartbeat of the Week”
They’ve been pleasing each other since they first met in 1983 in a club in Seattle. Since then, Copland and Peacock (a pillar of the Keith Jarrett trio and ex-companion of Albert Ayler and Bill Evans) have never lost sight of each other, renewing their dialog whenever possible. But never has their complicity been put to such good advantage as it is on this disc. Copland, a musician of harmonic language and an exceptional intelligence, and Peacock, he of a supreme level of play, perform here with precision, attaining heights of musicality that are rarely seen.
Piano Magazine (France)
What it Says, before all else, is that Marc Copland is finally being recognized as the major pianist that he is, in the creative lineage of Bill Evans. He’s also in the process of being recognized as well as a great specialist of the duo (with Dave Liebman yesterday, with Greg Osby today), where the finesse of his touch and his harmonic and rhythmic sense are incomparable.
What it says also is that Gary Peacock doesn’t commit infidelity to the Keith Jarrett trio without a good reason, and that Copland in these last few years hasn’t released all these CDs by chance, as an instrumentalist and as a composer, in trio, quartet, or as here, in duo.
It says finally that the power of this music, and its capacity to infiltrate the most intimate of our auditory fibres, are palpable and durable evidence of the empathy uniting Marc Copland and Gary Peacock.
Round and Round (Nagel-Heyer)/duo with Greg Osby
JAZZ MAGAZINE (FRANCE)--September, 2003
“Discs of Excitement” (Best of the Month)
MARC COPLAND-GREG OSBY
Round and Round (Nagel-Hayer Records. Copland (p), Osby (as)
In a genre diametrically opposed to the din that lacerates the false quietude bordering the urban jungle, and to the sometimes hysterical trepidations which believe themselves to be its echo, here is an album only appears to be tranquil. Sure, at the end of one of those hassled days of the scorching heat like we had in the summer of 2003--when one might open a small refreshment with one’s hand with scarcely the energy to bring it to one’s lips--one can stretch out on a sofa, or on the other hand put on a cd, in this case this one, and disappear from the real world. But preferably one can borrow from the concentrated attention of this dialog that’s all nuance and melancholy, in a harmonious and harmonic wisdom and a serenity which one might say is finally attained, as if this had been the end goal of the protoganists (a career of some thirty years for Marc, and more than fifteen for Greg).
In this duo, which would sound almost like the music called “classic” (jazz including a reprise of this Easy Living which makes the glory of Paul Desmond), Osby would appear as the dominant figure. But that’s only the effect of the percussive force of the instrument which, if one can say so, “only” breathes the melody which enters more easily into the ears than Copland’s wise harmonic beaches, on which one can rest (the saxophone sometimes politely giving the piano barely perceptible “subtones.”) Lovers of momentum, of breaks and of paradoxical meaning will know how to find their share, but the unanimity will be made around a beauty of which the rough edges that are not eluded aren’t put there to wound. The courage of a Silent Attitude in the middle of an uproar well deserves an award for “excitement.”
Round and Round
Marc Copland/Greg Osby | Nagel Heyer
It has been a busy few years for pianist Marc Copland who has, since 2001, released as many as four albums in a single year. From the solo recording Poetic Motion to group recordings including Haunted Heart and Other Ballads and And…, Copland has continued to hone a style that is marked by profound impressionism and a penchant for dark, brooding material. He has demonstrated an eagerness to explore ongoing musical relationships, as he has with Gary Peacock on What It Says, as well as new ones including Round and Round, which teams Copland with alto saxophonist Greg Osby. Found in an unusually introspective mood, Osby is another ideal foil for Copland, who seems to pair naturally and empathically with everyone he meets.
In stark contrast with Bookends, Copland’s 2002 duet recording with the more expressionistic saxophonist Dave Liebman, that was an exercise in contrast, Osby is more malleable and fits comfortably within the scope of Copland’s musical vision, where as much is implied as is actually played. Even Osby’s compositional contributions are a far cry from his more typically assertive, post bop pieces. “Copious” dwells in abstraction, with Copland applying textural splashes while shifting in and out of time; “Silent Attitude” is a melancholy tone poem that feels somehow reverential.
But it is Copland’s writing that is the centrepiece of this recording. The ten-minute “Whatever The Moon” has a pensiveness that recalls some of Ralph Towner’s more inward-looking material, but is less tangible. The form develops languidly; Osby contributes quiet long tones through Copland’s tender solo that enhance the overall harmonic richness of the piece. “The Wizard” layers a staggered melody over a quietly insistent rhythmic backdrop. “Deed-Lee-Yah” is the closest the duo comes to real bop; Osby is in more familiar territory but Copland challenges him with a more abstruse accompaniment.
Copland’s playing demonstrates an obscure sense of romanticism; nowhere near as obvious as many of his sources, he has been developing a style that is harmonically imaginative yet completely engaging and soothing to the ear. Even at his most abstract there is nothing harsh or angular about his playing; and when he interprets a standard like “Easy Living” he brings to it a delicate lyrical sense.
Round and Round is another fine recording from a pianist who is gradually developing a reputation but has yet to make the leap into more broad exposure. Clearly, on the strength of this and other recent recordings, Copland deserves a larger audience. Surely, with beautifully recorded albums such as this that demonstrate a consistent yet evolving conception, and an outstanding ability to work with a rich variety of artists like Osby, the time will come when Copland is recognized as the artist of consequence that he truly is.
~ John Kelman
Disque d'émoi / French Jazz Magazine /
David Liebman-Marc Copland : Bookends
(hatOLOGY 2-587/Harmonia Mundi). Liebman (ss, ts), Copland (p).
"Don't look any farther for original harmonies: Copland never stops changing them as he pleases with a stupefying inventiveness."
Depuis près de deux ans, sous l’impulsion de producteurs aussi avisés que Philippe Ghielmetti (Sketch) et Werner X. Uehlinger (hatOLOGY), Marc Copland multiplie les enregistrements en leader. Qui s’en plaindra ? Pas ceux en tout cas qui se réjouissent qu’un pianiste aussi singulier, jusqu’à il y a peu encore relativement inconnu (en France tout du moins), soit désormais “exposé” à sa juste valeur. Certainement pas aussi technique que nombre de ses (jeunes) confrères en proie à la folie des performances, Copland est à classer, au côté de Paul Bley ou Bill Carrothers, dans la catégorie des “coloristes”. De ceux qui, au moyen d’un bagage harmonique impressionnant, cultivent la suggestion – et pour qui silences et tenues sont au moins aussi importants que le reste. Des qualités qui pourraient être les leitmotive de ce double “Bookends” (cd 1 : studio ; cd 2 : live) enregistré avec Dave Liebman, partenaire privilégié du pianiste depuis leur inaugurale collaboration phonographique l’an passé (“Lunar”, hatOLOGY). Une musique légère et grave à la fois, comme suspendue au-dessus de compositions originales et thèmes empruntés notamment à Lester Young (Lester Leaps In exécuté par Liebman en solo et au ténor), Dave Brubeck (In Your Own Sweet Way), Jimmy Giuffre (Cry Want), Herbie Hancock (Maiden Voyage), John Coltrane (Impressions). Autant de mélodies
resongées-réincarnées par deux improvisateurs aussi irrespectueux des formes (le saxophoniste paraît dès qu’il en a l’occasion vouloir contourner les propositions harmoniques de son acolyte) que du fond (ne cherchez pas les grilles d’accords originales : Copland ne cesse de les altérer à sa guise avec une inventivité stupéfiante). Il ne fait aucun doute que ce jazz-là, à l’écart des sentiers battus, suit son propre chemin, sinueux, insolite, vertigineux même lorsqu’on regarde alentour : l’improvisation s’étend ici, pour notre entière plénitude, à perte d’ouïe !
"This is really a piano recital....played on the slope of reserved emotion, of beauty contemplated with respect, delicacy. Which doesn't exclude steadfastness."
Il y a trois ans, on signalait ici le disque en trio, très réussi, Softly as in a sunrise, d'un pianiste new-yorkais qui est typiquement un «late bloomer», un artiste à la floraison tardive. Depuis, Marc Copland ne s'est pas précipité pour montrer qu'elle allait être abondante. Il a même fallu qu'un producteur français dingue du piano, Philippe Ghielmetti, le persuade que son label Sketch lui offrirait les meilleures conditions pour un disque en solo. Il a donc mis à sa disposition ce qui semble bien être, à l'heure actuelle, le meilleur piano du monde, celui du studio La Buissonne, d'où sont déjà sortis bon nombre de disques rayonnant comme une aurore. La tentation est grande devant un si bel instrument de le laisser simplement sonner. Marc Copland y cède, pour notre bonheur, avec les premiers accords perlés de Second Sight, qui ouvre son récital. Car, dans ce Poetic Motion, c'est bien d'un récital de piano qu'il s'agit. Enlevez à ce terme toute idée de solennité pour ne garder que celles d'exigence et d'unité. Les deux thèmes qui ne sont pas des compositions de Copland, le Spartacus Love Theme d'Alex North et Naima de John Coltrane, s'intègrent magnifiquement dans la succession des morceaux qui, tous, sont joués sur le versant de l'émotion retenue, de la beauté contemplée avec respect, délicatesse. Ce qui n'exclut pas la fermeté.
Télérama n° 2721 - 8 mars 2002
CD OF THE MONTH
« …We are in the presence here of a purified, decanted impressionism, that is conscious that menace weighs on it, but that continues nonetheless to have its head in the clouds. The pianist isn't content in Poetic Motion to be face-to-face with his scrutinizing and incorruptible double : never before, on disc, has he been so irreducibly himself. Which makes this work, to my mind, one of the great piano-jazz discs of the last few years. »
ON PREND LES MEMES ET ON NE RECOMMENCE PAS
…D'autant que l'artiste a choisi cette fois la solitude et le chemin de la mediatation. Sa musique n'est pas de celles qui s'ecoutent parler, mais elle prend le temps (et se paie l'audace) d'une reflexion critique sur soi, grace a laquelle-c'est ce que montre avec eclat la reprise du "Spartacus Love Theme" qu'affectionnait Bill Evans--d'une certaine certaine maniere et, je pense, a la vive surprise de beaucoup, Copland se rapproche tout autant de la rumination monkienne que de la songerie evansienne : tout autant des geometries de Chirico que des evanouissements de Turner. Nous sommes en presence ici d'un impressionisme epure, eecante, conscient qu'une menace pese sur lui, mais qui n'en continue pas moins d'avoir la tete dans les nuages. Le pianiste ne se contente pas dans Poetic Motion d'etre en tete-a-tete avec son double scrutateur et incorruptilbe : jamais encore, sur disque, il n'avait ete aussi irreductiblement lui-meme. Ce qui fait de cette oeuvre, a mon sens, l'un des tras grand disques de « piano-jazz » de ces dernieres annees.
Motion" - Sketch / Harmonia
Mundi - 2002
"Did Marc Copland want to construct a conceptual album, a poetic novel made of sketches? Nothing would suit better the Sketch label, which takes us away, with this Poetic Motion, on one of the most successful aesthetic adventures."
Ainsi dans ses compositions se déclinent graduellement d'autres variations d'humeur et d'atmosphère, que celles de Giovanni Mirabassi (Avanti) ou René Urtreger (Onirica). Un espace sonore aussi vaste est pourtant parcouru, et de ballades rêveuses en modernes dissonances, de cadences fluides en dérives mélodiques, se crée une nouvelle alchimie du verbe pianistique.
Par ses harmoniques et ses couleurs, Poetic Motion distille le plus souvent une secrète mélancolie, liée à un art poétique. Puisque sont convoqués pour nous à la table du lecteur devenu auditeur, à moins que ce ne soit l'inverse, Virgile, Prévert, E.E Cummings, Jules Supervielle, Dylan Thomas.
Comme des prédelles précisant l'exposé narratif d'un tableau, les citations poétiques sont disposées au pied d'un texte inédit de Robert Zavatsky "Nevertheless", dont certains mots ou locutions signifiantes sont repris comme titres des neuf compositions de l'album : Blackboard, Not going gently, Bittersweet road, Dark territory.
Irisations de cette musique qui renvoie aux délicates impressions, aux rutilances diverses de la musique française du début du XXème. Avec çà et là, des hommages fugitifs ou de brèves rencontres, différents climats harmoniques de Debussy à Satie, de Chopin à Jarrett ou Bill Evans.
Sensibilité romantique, engagement romanesque ? Pas seulement. De fait, à l'encontre des trop fréquentes mises en scène de piano solo, seulement narratives, voire dramatiques, l'émotion seule n'envahit plus le discours.
Marc Copland s'attache à traduire la circulation du sens poétique. Autant de signes, au passage, qui ne répondent à aucune nostalgie malgré l'apparence du souvenir, à travers ces échos délicats, où le jazz revient, superbe, comme dans la reprise de cette perle fine de Naima. Sortir une nouvelle version, particulièrement émouvante de cette ballade favorite, c'est atteindre l'esprit même du jazz, et l'interprétation du Spartacus Love theme d'Alex North est aussi à inscrire dans cette tentative.
Marc Copland a-t-il voulu construire un album conceptuel, un roman poétique fait d'esquisses? Rien ne saurait mieux convenir au label Sketch qui nous entraîne, avec ce Poetic motion, dans une aventure esthétique des plus réussies.
& Other Ballads
Marc Copland Trio (Hat Hut/ Hatology)
By Gerard Cox
Anyone who is not by now familiar with the story of Marc Copland should first hear this before they read this review and then hear the disc it is about. The fact of the matter is, Marc Copland did not take up piano until the age of 35. That's right- Copland was originally a saxophonist, and quite a fine one at that, being very active on the New York scene in the 70s until he began to have the realization that he could not adequately express the lyrical possibilities he was thinking about in music on a horn- no, he would have to resolutely "sit down" at the piano, and play until he could make that black-and-white mass choir sing.
The story as we know now had a happy ending, as "Sing" Marc Copland's piano playing now does without question. And actually, there is more to this, as not only his lyrical style, but his harmonic sophistication, his touch, and control of dynamics with the footpedal have all become well- the stuff of legend. There are actually stories of young piano players who go to a Copland gig and then sit right near the stage to stare at his feet, to observe the nuance of how he works the damper pedal of the piano. But a pedal exhibitionist, no- a "master": yes.
So today Copland is widely respected amongst those in-the-know on the jazz scene as a quiet giant of "his" instrument; there is nothing outwardly revolutionary about his playing but his sheer refinement and understated excellence is a revelation in- itself. His peers, from Joe Lovano, to Charlie Haden, to Billy Hart, have all pointed to Copland as a "heavy" on the scene today. And while it may be confouding how one could make such a claim on behalf of their second instrument, begun at age 35, Copland has nonetheless made believers. Anyone who has had the opportunity to play with him or hear him play quickly learns this was not the stereotypical musician picking up a second instrument in his middle years; no, this was a "man on a mission"- and the redemption of an unfulfilled muse it would seem. Copland had to express his muse in a better way.
We can hear Marc Copland and his trio express their muse amply here on this first record for Hatology records, "Haunted Heart and Other Ballads." This is a ballad record that is dedicated to exploring ballads in all of their nuance and complexity. Copland reveals his philosophy on this recording in his liner notes, when he writes "Playing ballads, is in many ways, the ultimate musical challenge. A ballad is like a window into the soul of the artist..." A voluntary invitation to see musical nakedness- and it would seem that we as listeners are offered more than a glimpse into the soul of Mark Copland and his trio compadres here. Every tune on the program is a ballad, most well known, including "Soul Eyes", "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "Easy to Love." And there are some intriguing wrinkles in the program; John Coltrane's "Crescent" being only the most obviously intriguing piece to be covered by an impressionistic piano trio. A further, perhaps deeper connection to John Coltrane's aesthetic though is involved in the inclusion of two simple, yet totally melodic tunes Trane favored: My Favorite Things and Greensleeves. Like Trane Marc Copland evidently sees something very compelling in a simple folk melody like Greensleeves; he sees beyond the deceptive simplicity of such interval-grounded tunes and as such sees something very worth exploring. Finally, there is also an uncommon "pop" tune here represented in- common with the rest of the program. The often-subtle balladry of Sting is represented by "When We Dance."
The treatments given to the tunes aboard here are all in a word- sublime. The Marc Copland trio navigates the feeling of each tune in a very open and honest way; there is no self-conscious cleverness here, nor is there any affected melodrama. This is not to say these ballads are given "straight" or "classic" readings by the trio though. Indeed, a thoughtful and deliberative interpretation in the interest of making an old tune fresh again- is one of the hallmarks of this trio. Trane's "Crescent" is transformed from the sort of anthem-like feel Trane had written it with into a kind of loving dedication, more akin to "Naima" in its essential mood. "Greensleeves" is made at home as a "quiet song" that like Crescent, lolls along in a totally peaceful way, letting itself decompress as it were. And My Favorite Things is the exception on this record- Copland plays this song solo, and thrice, and with each take he contributes some fundamental insight about the tune through harmonic substitution or rhythmic variation, and most of all- phrasing. If there is anything in which Copland demonstrates all too well here, it is melodic phrasing.
Here on the Marc Copland Trio's recording of ballads then, we hear an very connective and empathetic trio at work that treats these ballads as if in a constant state of rumination and appreciation for their beauty. Along with Drew Gress and Jochen Ruckert, Copland "makes peace" with songs. As it turns out they not only reward these songs, but they reward themselves, as they make beautiful music here in their respectful and honest approach.
While "ballad records" don't always generate a positive connotation in listeners minds, this record transcend the all-ballad program-as-concept into a wash of sound, beautiful sound. Enjoy swimming in the depths of this sublime recording.
Track Listing: My Favorite Things; Crescent; Dark Territory; Greensleeves; When We Dance; My Favorite Things II; Soul Eyes; It Ain't Necessarily So; Easy to Love; Haunted Heart
Personnel: Marc Copland- Piano; Drew Gress- Bass; Jochen Ruckert- Drums.