By Bill Milkowski | Published January 2020
Pianist Marc Copland has an uncanny way of inhabiting a tune, working his way through it from the inside out while exploring new harmonic possibilities along the way. And in bassist Drew Gress and drummer Joey Baron, he’s got two kindred spirits to join him on his quest. Their uncommonly sensitive, conversational approach is steeped in the tradition of Bill Evans’ classic trio, though Copland’s collective (which previously served as the rhythm section for John Abercrombie’s last two albums) pushes the envelope even further here.
Their ethereal take on “Afro Blue” might be the most strikingly impressionistic of the set. Opening with a free-flowing dialogue between Baron and Gress, it only begins to allude to the familiar melody at the two-minute mark, shortly after Copland enters the picture. Baron’s simmering 6/8 feel sets an understated, swinging tone as Copland’s penchant for reharmonization kicks in. This organic, in-the-moment approach also informs versions of “Cantaloupe Island,” as well as “And I Love Her,” both imbued with mysterioso reharmonization. Baron throws down a chugging groove on the free-form “Mitzi & Jonny,” then showcases his brushwork on a harmonically tweaked rendition of Cole Porter’s “You Do Something To Me” to close out the album in classy, slightly subversive fashion.
And I Love Her: Afro Blue; Cantaloupe Island; Figment; Might Have Been; Love Letter; Day And Night; And I Love Her; Mitzi & Jonny; You Do Something To Me. (65:50).
Personnel: Marc Copland, piano; Drew Gress, bass; Joey Baron, drums.