Marc Copland

Poetic Motion

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There is a simple beauty to Marc Copland's solo piano playing. Sensitive and quiet, the pianist prefers slower, relaxed tempos in which the wood from the piano resonates gorgeously. Some might confuse it with so-called "elevator music," but that would be a serious mistake, for Copland, although here not too adventurous, performs with the experience and skill of the master. His attack is precise and fine, like waves slapping gently at the shore. He builds intensity in his own way, with small clusters caressing the edges. He takes liberties, too, with tempo and even harmonics, though at heart he remains a conservative player. As a composer, he is somewhat dull and his tunes are unlikely to be played too often, if at all, by others. Yet, he is a commanding presence of sorts, an individualist who eschews the radical freedom of the avant-garde, but who does not embrace traditional approaches to the piano either. There are classical influences, to be sure, and when he interprets John Coltrane's "Naima," the nature of Copland's approach seems clearer. He uses space effectively, and with a tender delicacy skirts the melody and pillows lush chords in logical progression. While Copland is wonderful background fare, he is more than that, too, and this recording -- his first solo release -- is a fine example of what he is capable of accomplishing.

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