Marc Copland

That's For Sure

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This is an inspired combination of signature sounds from master players: Marc Copland's impressionistic piano, John Abercrombie's moody, fluid guitar, and the bright, pure edge of Kenny Wheeler's horn. The approach is basically free jazz, but the tunes are so artfully structured, their tension and resolve so naturally balanced, that the music never goes too far "out" for the mainstream listener. The first track, Copland's tuneful "When We Met," eases you into the experience. Fans of Abercrombie will appreciate his excellent work here, especially his extended solo introduction to his own "That's For Sure," with its subtle weave of jazz, folk, and blues. The trio is empathic and relaxed -- they share the spotlight amiably, and their fine originals mesh nicely together. There's only one standard track: Irving Berlin's "How Deep is the Ocean, which swings hard and features stellar interplay between piano and guitar. Another high point is Copland's gorgeous "Dark Territory," with its climbing, searching theme and cathartic release; Wheeler takes the melody and soars, while Abercrombie and Copland expand on its harmonic possibilities. Thoughtful, but not at all gloomy, richly atmospheric, and satisfying, this CD offers a unique and ear-expanding journey that is well worth taking. Not your usual trio CD.

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