Saxophonist turned jazz pianist Marc Copland has been busy recording for a Switzerland based record label. He continues his high level of musicianship with his core trio, along with tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and guitarist John Abercombie, both performing on selected tracks. Copland possesses a sensitive touch, while also residing as a well-versed swing and bop pianist.
Marc Copland joins forces with a trio of fellow seasoned veterans, including guitarist John Abercrombie, bassist Drew Gress, and drummer Billy Hart for this 2007 studio session. The chemistry between the four men is apparent from the very beginning. The pianist's introspective ballad "Like You" is a complex affair, frequently showing the influence of Bill Evans in his lyrical ideas, though Copland's dark interwoven lines take in him other directions as well.
"These love songs are about more than their meaning. They're about the love that these men have for the music, the joy that they find in playing together and the beauty that exists in the act of creation. And, contrary to popular belief, sequels aren't always subservient to the originals. This music is second to none."
The two reunite for Insight, with Peacock's name first on the marquee, though it's likely nothing more than the egalitarian nature of this duo that his name is first, since Copland's was the lead on What It Says. It's another set of deeply connected music—a mix of Copland and Peacock originals, free improvisations and well-known but instinctively personal covers.
The co-leaders of this date first met back in the 70's, when pianist Marc Copland's instrument of choice was the saxophone. Whereas the teaming of the pianist's trio with sax great Dave Liebman reflects a natural extension of their fairly recent collaboration at the Santa Fe, New Mexico Jazz Festival. With this release, Copeland brings his elegant touch to the forefront, which is a characteristic that intrinsically complements, his partner's lofty excursions on both tenor and soprano saxophones.
Three apprehensive reharmonizations of "My Favorite Things" are a moody thread running through Haunted Heart and Other Ballads by the Marc Copland trio. Against this backdrop, Copland goes on to play with the shadows, casting elating illumination and a kind of cloudy angst in measured proportions. The trio interplay here is on a very high order, the product of a regular weekly gig of some duration to which drummer Jochen Rueckert, a master of temporal texture, is the relative newcomer. Bassist Drew Gress and Copland have been at it for a long time, and cohesion is in evidence at all times. […] Throughout, these are impressive performances that stay with the listener. Haunted Heart and Other Ballads is a wonderful recording. ~Bill Bennett, Jazztimes