Mel Minter

Zenith, Marc Copland (innerVoice Jazz)

Marc Copland knocked me out when he appeared at the Outpost last year in John Abercrombie’s quartet. He was so keyed into what the moment needed from him, and he delivered it with passion, humor, touch, and a killer rhythmic instinct. So I jumped on the opportunity to review his new release, Zenith (on his new label, innerVoice Jazz) when it
appeared in the mailbox. Featuring Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Drew Gress (bass), and Joey Baron (drums), Zenith finds Copland at the—wait for it—summit of his abilities.

Both Copland and Alessi, colorists at heart, excel at painting abstract sonic atmospheres, and Copland’s broad harmonic palette gives them plenty of room to stretch out. Copland takes the writing credit for four of the six tracks, with the three-part “Air We’ve Never Breathed,” ascribed to the entire quartet, and Duke Ellington’s “Mystery Song” rounding out the selections. Copland explores and exploits harmonies that, however unexpected, hit just the right notes. If harmony had a pocket, he’d be deep in it. As it is, he is deep in the rhythmic pocket when comping under Alessi’s solos, finding the right accents harmonically and otherwise.

Alessi never wastes a note. His spare, lyrical stylings are freighted with emotion. Just check out the heartbreaking line in his solo in the final part of “Air We’ve Never Breathed.” On that same track, Baron takes a hold-your-breath solo on the cymbals alone. “Timbre timbre timbre”—the musical equivalent of “Location location location”—might be the axiom for these four guys.

Gress and Baron are beautifully matched, finding just the right measure of swing and funk that a tune demands—from the
easygoing swing on “Sun at Zenith” to the edgy, exhilarating boil of “Waterfalls” to the high simmer under “Mystery Song.” Check out the opening on this track, where Gress and Baron set up contrasting rhythmic
figures that seem mismatched at first but slowly and magically lock together in a deeply swinging groove.

Beautifully recorded, mixed, and mastered by Katsuhiko Naito, Zenith offers up a
quartet that seems to beat with one heart and is well acquainted with the thrilling sensation of weightlessness.

Mar 1 2021

Pianista di arte sopraffina – Intervista a Marc Copland

A 72 anni, quando potrebbe anche essere lecito aspettarsi un certo rallentamento creativo, Marc Copland pianista di arte sopraffina, ha dato una robusta sferzata alla sua carriera grazie a un album in solo dedicato al suo compianto amico John Abercrombie (e non mancate l'omaggio precedente a Gary Peacock, altro gigante ...
Read More

Jan 28 2021

John – Piano Solo

Eine Farbfotografie des Gitarristen John Abercrombie ziert den Innenteil des Digipacks von „John“, dem Soloalbum des Pianisten Marc Copland, der – bescheiden zurücktretend – mit einem von scharfen Kontrasten geprägten, fast dämonisch anmutenden Schwarz-Weiß-Foto abgebildet ist. Jahrelang spielten sie zusammen, immer wieder, von 1971 als Mitglieder des Chico Hamilton Quartet ...
Read More

Jan 26 2021

Downbeat: JOHN (Marc Copland)

Pianist Marc Copland—who played saxophone during the early ’70s alongside guitarist John Abercrombie in a fusion act simply called Friends—summons a solo tribute album aimed at his late friend. Copland and Abercrombie gigged and recorded together in a variety of settings during the subsequent decades, and the pianist finds alluring, ...
Read More

Jan 26 2021

John: 4 ½ STARS

“A GENIUS….so alluring….completely lacking in pretense.” Pianist Marc Copland crossed paths with guitarist John Abercrombie in the early '70s, playing in drummer Chico Hamilton's group. Copland was, at the time, a saxophonist. The collaboration there began a fifty year friendship and multiple Abercrombie/Copland collaborations . Abercrombie passed away in 2017. John is Copland's eulogy for ...
Read More

Jan 26 2021

John: Is that a sensible thing to do? Yes!

New………….to reveal the beauties, so numerous and diverse, of John Abercrombie’s compositions when one is a pianist:   Is that a sensible thing to do?  Yes, it’s a really good idea.  Especially if the pianist is a longtime companion of the late guitarist, and no small wonder, he puts his whole ...
Read More

Nov 15 2020

JOHN – new release Marc Copland solo piano

CLICK HERE TO BUY CD Over his long career, pianist Marc Copland has become known as a unique stylist, a harmonic innovator, and a gifted improviser with a unique sense of touch. Much of his recorded output over the decades has been in duos, trios, and quartets. Yet from his ...
Read More