Marc Copland

Paradiso

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AllMusic Review by

Marc Copland's union with Gary Peacock and Billy Hart is a trio made in heaven for its deep lyricism, hip, swinging aplomb, and subtly shaded timbral improvisational grace. Performing a selection of originals and canonical tunes, the equanimity in this band lends them a varied and textured rhythmic/melodic balance not often displayed in modern day ensembles. And while it is true that the structural architecture at work in the band's executionary vocabulary owes a great deal to the Bill Evans trio of the '50s, Copland's group moves those ideas farther into his own color scheme with a sharper accent on rhythmic invention and thematic repetition -- a particular strength for both Hart and Peacock. The set opens with Copland's "Hiding Place," and the first solo begins immediately after an eight bar melodic introduction. But it's Peacock on the solo, turning the melody against the rhythm briefly before showering an array of notes through the center of Copland's middle register comping. Likewise, the trio's read of Charlie Parker's "Bloomdido," is more expressionistic than the original, but at the same time, Copland's own cascading skeins of notes in scalar succession from the tonic through the resolution of a re-harmonization is a remarkable display of chromatic invention. After a lovely, understated reading of "Lover Man," the band whispers its way into Copland's "Dark Territory." Peacock leads the way after a skeletal thematic frame is stated by Hart's elegant, poignant brushwork against Copland's ghostly intro. Peacock' solo moves from counterpoint to chromatic consonance in melody and rhythm, before taking a turn into blues terrain, and then opens out onto a shifting time signature by Hart as he underscores Copland's pastoral chorded opening to his own solo. With spare use of the right hand and middle register use of the left, Copland manages thematic variations and striated harmonic visions in a medium tempo ballad that are nothing less than amazing. Paradiso is among Copland's finest records, and in no small way is that a result of the intimate communication realized by this trio. Indeed, one gets the feeling after hearing this a few times that they could play anything together and add to it immeasurably in a creative context.

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