Artist: Marc Copland
Label: Innervoice Jazz
Release Date: 03/01/2016
Gratefully, pianist Marc Copland keeps things decidedly old-school jazz quartet on Zenith: exploratory, expansive, expressive, impressionistic. And then again, why shouldn’t his music invoke these motifs? His long cred certainly gives itself over to it: He, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Joey Baron comprise legendary guitarist John Abercrombie’s rhythm section. Likewise, Copland and Baron have sustained the subtle muscle alongside master bassist Gary Peacock. Marc Copland may not be on the lips of every jazz aficionado, but through the years he’s played significant roles with Paul Motian, James Moody, Chico Hamilton, Ralph Towner… the list, as they say, goes on.
Complimented by the ever-inventive trumpeter Ralph Alessi, Zenith would be a 2016 keeper if it only included the elongated atmospherics and acrobatics of the improvised suite “Air We’ve Never Breathed.” That four earthy, free form Copland compositions, the floating “Sun At The Zenith,” “Waterfalls,” “Best Bet,” the gentle breeze to full force gale “Hurricane,” and a roiling take on Ellington’s “Mystery Song” is significant highlight reel stuff. Marc Copland has kicked off his own record label with a crowning achievement.
– Mike Jurkovic