14 Jan MARC COPLAND – GARY: PIANO SOLO
It’s been sixteen years since producer Philippe Ghielmetti, after recording Marc Copland and Gary Peacock in duo, conceived the idea of the pianist recording a solo album of the bassist’s compositions.
Opening with Voice From the Past and Gary (from Annette Peacock), the pianist chooses extreme slowness—which is not to say “free” time—to extract the substance and color of the compositions, with his unique way of pulling the material just to the edge of dissonance, sculpting at that point powerful blocks, or opening the music here and there to rays of light. Several of the tunes are also in the repertoire of the recent trio album Copland and Peacock recorded with Joey Baron (“Now This,” ECM), of which Gaia illustrates the way in which Copland clothes a simple and haunting melody, making it sparkle. The superb carpet employed in the opening is equaled only by the mysterious ostinato which reveals itself in the coda. As for the Fellini-esque Empty Carousel, you’d have to go back to the version with Ralph Towner (“Oracle,” ECM, 1994) in order to convince yourself that this piece’s destiny didn’t rest exclusively with Copland, and his peaceful balancing of polytonal elements. A new dimension of this homage reveals itself with Random Mist, recorded as a bass solo on the album Mindset on which Gary collaborated with Paul Bley. Here, Copland makes the piano ring like a bass, rolling out heavy sonorities of the melody in Peacock-ian style before escaping into hi-pitched shimmers. The program closes with Vignette, which opens Volume 2 of the “NY Trio Recordings” with Paul Motian; here, it is subtly developed from the rhythmic angle. As usual, Gerard de Haro captures the sounds perfectly in an album that is indispensable in highlighting simultaneously a rare musical connection, as well as how crucial the role of a producer can be.