Mar 21, 2016
Marc Copland’s music career started with a sax, but he’s made his name as a pianist. Hailing from Philadelphia, Copland was a peer of Michael Brecker, and the pair often studied and played together. Copland attended Columbia University, where he eventually landed in the influential Chico Hamilton Quartet, meeting lifetime collaborator John Abercrombie in the process.
But Marc put down the sax soon after, and began the process of reinventing himself as a pianist. The results were outstanding. Fifteen long years later he was not only in demand on gigs, but he had begun a recording career that has resulted in more than three dozen releases, most recently with Copland playing a key place in the Gary Peacock Trio and John Abercrombie Quartet.
Zenith, his latest CD as a leader, is a quartet session featuring his long-time bassist Drew Gess; drummer Joey Baron; and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. The album is full of musically complex and yet welcoming music. Alessi is in something of a career renaissance right now, having released a fine CD on his own this year, Quiver, and he adds much to Copland’s compositions. One interesting addition is the rarely played Duke Ellington composition, “Mystery Song”, which gets an interesting reading here.
Podcast 526 is my conversation with Marc Copland, as we discuss the new album and quartet; and his long-time musical relationships with Drew Gess, Peacock and Abercrombie. Musical selections include three tracks from the new CD - "Waterfalls", Mystery Song" and "Sun at the Zenith" as well as recording with John Abercrombie ("Shadow of a Doubt") and Gary Peacock ("Noh Blues").