Marc Copland: Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise


Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise


Marc Copland (piano)


Softly (Savoy CY18076)

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Marc Copland (piano), Tim Hagans (trumpet), Joe Lovano (tenor sax), Gary Peacock (bass), Bill Stewart (drums).

Composed by S. Romberg & Oscar Hammerstein II


Recorded: New York, September 1997


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

The cover art of this 1998 release is Claude Monet's "Impressions: Sunrise," which speaks volumes about Marc Copland's impressionistic approach to music. The pianist has assembled a complementary group to realize his dreamy, translucent and reality-suspended musical statements. "Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise" takes staccato form with Copland and bassist Peacock establishing a catchy syncopated backbeat leading into the memorable melody line. A clipped duet by Hagans and Lovano adds bounce to the melody before they break into their exploratory solos. Hagans's trumpet is early-'70s Miles-like. Lovano, one of those rare contemporary saxophonists who can play melodically or free with equal ease, here does both. The two horn men chase each other up and down the musical scales in a pseudo call and response unfettered by convention and more like a cacophony of released ideas. The fact that these guys can be inspired to play this freely is testament to Copland's ability as leader to choose such thoughtful material. When Lovano does let go, the flight of freedom in his voice is quite inspired. Copland's moaning during his solo anticipates his keyboard ideas, and his harmonic invention is always feathery and surprising. Stewart, who at times overplays for my taste, is given a nice solo to showcase his own virtuosity at layering rhythms. Impressionism at its best!

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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