Monday, June 22, 2009

Review of the Marc Copland Trio "So What " from Night Whispers

Artist: Marc Copland

Track: So What

CD: NY Recording Trio Night Whispers (Pirouet PIT3037)

Musicians: Marc Copland (piano): Drew Gress(bass); Bill Stewart (drums)

Recorded : Bennett Studios, NJ June 8th & 9th , 2008

Composer: Miles Davis

At lot of people play Miles Davis songs because they are immediately identifiable and they possess a timelessness and durability that few others offer. On the Kind of Blue classic “So What” we have Gress starting out with the bass line made so famous by Paul Chambers. The tempo is a bit quicker paced than the original and of course there are no horns on this version but the lineage is unmistakable.

Gress takes the first solo and explores the song’s essence with an energized pizzicato that prances along nicely to the rhythmic cymbals of Stewart and the comping chords of Copland.

When Copland starts his solo the temperature is raised a notch, as he intensifies the proceedings with a reckless abandon approach that seems to be climbing, elevating us to some point unknown. His eruptive breaks are exquisitely timed and he is never without some thoughtful refrain at the precise right moment. Here his introspective qualities are tamed as he lets himself be swept away by the force of this familiar modal piece.

Stewart is given his opportunity to make a statement and drives his point home forcefully with a combination of snare rolls, pounding toms and crashing cymbals in a slashing display of energy and inventiveness that has a most aggressive feel to it-in stark contrast to Jimmy Cobb’s more subtle treatment in the original.

In the final refrain Gress, Stewart and Copland produce a bell-like clanging drone that slowly fades into oblivion. Miles would approve.

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