Marc Copland: Like It Never Was


Like It Never Was


Marc Copland (piano)


New York Trio Recordings, Vol. 3: Night Whispers (Pirouet PIT3037)

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Marc Copland (piano), Drew Gress (bass), Bill Stewart (drums).

Composed by Drew Gress


Recorded: New Jersey, June 8-9, 2008


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

On this fine trio recording of a Drew Gress composition, the normally cacophonous drummer Bill Stewart exercises unusually restrained cymbal and brushwork to add to the somber and almost eerie introduction before Marc Copland's pensive piano takes hold. Copland's raw sensitivity is always evident in his playing. He builds tension with the artistry of a painter applying splashes of color, each stroke a dynamic expansion of his musical ideas, with his bared soul on display in some uniquely vulnerable way. Not since Bill Evans has a pianist so thoroughly exposed himself through his music. 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.

Gress and Stewart are exceptionally sympathetic to Copland's delivery. Gress takes a short and equally pensive solo about halfway through, content in knowing that his fellow musicians are faithfully executing the integrity of his composition. This trio has refined its message and mastered the art of tension and release. Stewart, of whom I have not been a big fan in the past, expertly uses a series of cymbal crashes and, to my ears, an unusual screeching of the cymbals' surface to create a surprisingly effective finish to this modern masterpiece.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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