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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke


Marc Copland - piano
Recorded October 24 & 25, 2001 at Studio La Buissonne, Pernes les Fontaines.
Sketch CD SKE 333020


1. Second Sight
2. Blackboard
3. Not Going Gently
4. Nevertheless
5. Spartacus Love Theme
6. When We Met
7. Bittersweet Road
8. Dark Territory
9. Naima

All compositions by Marc Copland except "Spartacus" by Alex North and " Naima" by John Coltrane.

This is an unusual recording of solo piano. The general atmosphere is dark, brooding and reflective. The concept behind this release is to portray, in terms of music, a series of poems, some well known and some a little more obscure. Half of the verses printed on the liner notes are in French and half in English ( Although why the Virgil should be in French as it is a translation from the Latin is not clear) . However, this really does not matter as the music stands on its own quite adequately without the need to understand the text from which it is derived. It is perhaps best to regard these poems as a source of inspiration to the composer rather than treating the whole as programme music.

Marc Copland is an interesting musician in that he started his career playing saxophone with the likes of Chico Hamilton, Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie, experimenting with the electric alto saxophone. He then became unhappy with his personal direction in music and took time out to study the piano. He made his comeback in the mid 1980's and has subsequently worked with such as James Moody, Joe Lovano, Wallace Roney and many others. He has also renewed his musical acquaintance with Abercrombie. His style is modern, with a certain density in his chordal usage. At the same time he is capable of wonderful rhythmic passages featuring a delightfully understated swing. Some of the music on this disc would not be misplaced on the Wyndham Hill label as it often conveys a similar mesmeric quality to the one found on many of that company's releases.

The selections on this recording are mainly of a slow to medium tempo and display strong yet unexpected harmonic movement interspersed with restrained melodic passages. Copland has a highly subtle touch on the piano which he uses to great effect, weighing each note carefully before placing it into his general synopsis. This is a disc that is not at all obvious in its impact but is well worth repeated playing as each time fresh perspectives are audible.

Dick Stafford.



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