Marc Copland: piano
Robin Verheyen: tenor & soprano saxophones
Drew Gress: bass
Mark Ferber: drums
As the pandemic winds down and music re-emerges, internationally renowned pianist Marc Copland has released his first quartet CD in several years, featuring some of the finest talents on the New York scene. Copland feels that this is one of his finest recordings ever, and after listening, we can see why!
By now Marc Copland needs no introduction. At 74 years, he’s arguably at the top of his game, making him one of the handful of jazz pianists playing at the highest level. Certainly John Abercrombie and Gary Peacock thought so; for over 30 years, they played in his bands, and he in theirs. Drew Gress, the other veteran in the band, has been omnipresent on the jazz scene for three decades. He covers the whole instrument with breath-taking virtuosity, and his understanding of time and harmony is perhaps unrivalled among his peers.
Copland and Gress, partners for many years, are joined by two outstanding younger talents. Robin Verheyen is a Belgian-American saxophonist who has been playing with Copland for nearly ten years. Says the pianist, “he really knows how to listen, and has his own sound and approach.” Copland, who has played and recorded over the years with the likes of Bob Berg, Michael Brecker, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, and James Moody, says simply, “Robin is my favourite tenor and soprano saxophonist.” Drummer Mark Ferber is no stranger to jazz listeners, having toured and recorded with Gary Peacock’s trio, Ralph Alessi’s quintet (including two albums for ECM), and countless other projects. He combines an effortless technical proficiency, killer swing, high intensity, and quiet sensitivity all in one package.
Copland’s unique sense of touch, lyricism and poetry at his instrument, his creation of unusual harmonies and lines, and his sense of swing are well documented. What’s perhaps less known, but shines brightly here, is how committed he is to the spontaneity of the moment. “That’s an approach John (Abercrombie), Gary (Peacock), and I all shared – when I played with either one, it was like we could read each other’s minds.” In this band, the level of spontaneous interaction and interplay between the musicians is remarkable. “I never come to the studio with all the tunes selected and prepared,” says the pianist. “I like to leave room for something to happen, and to encourage band members to participate in the decision making and shaping of the music. When everybody’s involved, you get this thing where the band sounds and feels like one living organism.”
Release Date: Friday, September 1st 2023 on InnerVoiceJazz.