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Copland, Marc: Zenith

Marc Copland is an American pianist/composer who was an integral part of the Philadelphia jazz scene of the early '60s. The saxophone was his first instrument of choice but in 1973 he switched to the piano and for the next few years worked with the likes of Gary Peacock, Dave Liebman and Michael Brecker as well as many others. In the '80s he moved to New York and recently his work with John Abercrombie and Gary Peacock has been exemplary. Since 2000 he has been very busy releasing a multitude of CDs as a band leader. He formed his own label Innervoice Jazz in 2015.

His latest work is titled Zenith and on the album is joined by Ralph Alessi (trumpet), Drew Gress (double bass) and Joey Baron (drums).

I first started becoming familiar with the work of Copland the last few years culminating with his Crosstalk release in 2011. He is a fantastic pianist able to play at an urgent pace or with more thoughtful nuance. Zenith is another fine modern jazz album and the first track "Sun At The Zenith" is a very nice mood laden piece evolving from stark piano chords and subtle drum work into a contemporary slice of modern jazz. The bass is prominent as Copland begins his precise explorations on the piano demonstrating a gentle feel and more forceful tones. Trumpet is also a key element here adding another moody layer of sound. On "Mystery Song", written by Duke Ellington in 1931, an excellent bass solo, smatterings of piano and forceful trumpet begin the piece in a somewhat dissonant fashion. The ensuing piano and trumpet solos are spellbinding in every sense of the word.

The longest track is the three part "Air We've Never Breathed" demonstrating the band can also improvise with the best of them as all musicians are equally involved. Copland is a great leader in this regard letting all the musicians play to their individual strengths.

Zenith is a fabulous modern jazz album that reveals its craftsmanship and subtle nuance with each successive listen. Music as complex as this needs to be processed over a longer period of time to fully grasp the artist's intent. Easily a 4 star release for any serious fan of jazz.

Track Listing:
1. Sun At The Zenith (8:26)
2. Mystery Song (9:16)
3. Air We've Never Breathed (14:00)
i. The Bass Knows
ii. Up And Over
iii. Lips
4. Waterfalls (7:54)
5. Best Bet (9:10)
6. Hurricane (10:39)

Added: March 18th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Website
Hits: 1931
Language: english

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