Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marc Copland: The Quiet American

Marc Copland (piano, b. 1948)

Marc Copland is a highly accomplished pianist with an astute approach to performing that is both introspective and emotional. He is a prolific performer with over 15 albums in the last 10 years. That's more than most artists in any genre. If you haven't guessed it, he is definitely one of those undiscovered treasures.

I have to admit I have only just recently gotten into his music in the last two to three years. I had always known the name but never paid any attention until I borrowed a trio session featuring one of my favourite bassists, Drew Gress and John Rueckert (drums) entitled Some Love Songs (Pirouet). He has collaborated with some the greatest jazz musicians of recent times including, Gary Peacock, John Abercrombie, Bill Stewart, Randy Brecker and Greg Osby to name a few. Many of his collaborations in recent years have been duo or trio recordings, all of which I highly recommend.

Copland started his career as a saxophonist before switching to piano in the mid-eighties. Since then his career has taken off and his style has been revered by students and his contemporaries alike. His most recent album is simply titled Alone (Pirouet) and is a beautiful solo album of delicate entries including a number of pieces from the Joni Mitchell cannon. This may be the perfect way for anyone unfamiliar with Copland to start out.

He does have a very vast catalog but you will be very satified if you seek out one of the trio sessions he recently recorded entitled The New York Trio Recordings Vol. I - III (Pirouet) which appear to be the easiest of his catalog to find in stores and online. While highly regarded overseas, his profile is limited in his native U.S. but hopefully more people will discover this truly underrated musician. Check out Marc Copland's version of the standard Milestones.

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