The band plays in an organic and stately manner but never ceases to excite the listener. According to Copland, these are his finest recordings thus far. This is a great album.
Marc Copland (Piano), Robin Verheyen (Tenor and Soprano Saxophones), Drew Gress (Bass), Mark Ferber (Drums)
Recorded in January 2022.
Marc Copland began professionally as an alto saxophonist, studying under Lennie Tristano and playing with Chico Hamilton. Copland left New York and abandoned the saxophone in 1973 to focus on piano. Over the next decade, Copland rediscovered and refined his voice on the piano – the instrument he began playing at age seven.
Copland has assembled a classic saxophone, piano, bass, and drums quartet for this modern “in the moment” album. Drew Gress, a long-term musical partner of Copland, is featured. Gess spent the last thirty years playing jazz. Completing the quartet are the immensely talented Mark Ferber and Robin Verheyen.
According to Copland, “Robin (Verheyen) is my favorite tenor and soprano saxophonist.” They have played together for the past ten years. Drummer Ferber has recorded with Gary Peacock and Ralph Alessi and has appeared on over 200 recordings.
The album opens with “Someday My Prince Will Come” in a heartfelt rendition. Copland provides a modern piano interlude followed by Gess’s bass solo. The saxophone joins in and takes this classic song into new directions to exceptional effect.
“Spinning Things” written by Copland, brings out his harmonic piano technique and demonstrates how well it fits in a trio or a quartet setting. This song demonstrates the strong interplay and cohesiveness of the band. Each member supports and encourages the others. Their playing is definitely “in the pocket.”
“Dukish” by Verheyen captures a tender moment of the foursome. Over simple chords and notes, the saxophonist carves out a touching melody. The band members trade off the lead and propel it forward. Drummer Ferber accompanies with delicate brushes and cymbal work.
Thelonious Monk’s “Let’s Cool One” is an updated take with the soprano saxophone gliding over the song’s unique structure. The piano takes a swinging approach to update the tune. Monk would be proud.
As we reach the end of the album, we’re treated to the mesmerizing piece “Nardis” written by the legendary Miles Davis. This modal composition was originally created for Cannonball Adderley and Verhayen makes it his own on tenor. He states and re-states the music and theme of this classic. It is a perfect way to wrap up this incredible musical journey.
One would be wise to pick up this album. It is a modern conception of classic tunes mixed with compositions by Copland and Verhayen. The band plays in an organic and stately manner but never ceases to excite the listener. According to Copland, these are his finest recordings thus far. This is a great album.