Marc Copland – Someday
(InnerVoiceJazz IVJ 107. Album review by Mike Collins)
The first notes of Marc Copland’s new release Someday are instantly, warmly, familiar and slightly unsettling as harmony is recast on the hoof, and melody weaves and distorts to complement it. The treatment of Someday My Prince Will Come is quintessential Copland. The veteran New York based pianist engages with the most familiar of material as if it’s a fresh adventure each time. A delight of this quartet recording is that his collaborators are fully tuned into the approach.
It’s not hard to imagine Drew Gress on bass, saxophonist Robin Verheyen and drummer Mark Ferber listening intently as Copland sets the tone, drawing the map in sound on the opener. Then they’re in as one, Gress anchoring the pulse, Ferber playing a parallel groove and Verheyen following Copland’s spooky harmonic map. It’s compelling listening as the solos continue the sense of exploration the statement of the theme has evoked.
The eight tune set has five originals penned by Copland and Verheyen. Copland contributes two that bustle with energy. On Spinning Things fragmentary, twisting motifs on the sax bounce of propulsive three-note riffs from the bass doubled by the pianist’s left-hand. Round She Goesfinds the bass doubling a mutating melodic thought unfurled by the sax against a chiming rhythmic figure from the piano. On both, Ferber injects an irresistible energy and fierce swinging groove. Round She Goes is thrilling in the way the arc builds through a bass solo that evolves naturally from the theme, through an intensifying piano solo to an exultant solo on soprano. Verheyen contributes two meditative pieces, Dukish and Encore, that make the most of the quartet’s capacity for lyrical embellishment. Ferber’s intense colouring and percussive commentary on Encore is a real stand-out moment. The standards Let’s Cool One and Nardis are delivered with the zest and energy of a band playing with real freedom and joy. Copland’s Day and Night isn’t a standard, but it sounds like one.
Copland told LJN how happy he was with this recording in an interview – link below – and it’s easy to see why. His trademark sense of constant exploration that’s often reflective and always adventurous is there, but enriched by band-mates who share the mind set, and given wings by an exuberant collective energy. This is a really fine set and gets better with each listen.
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