Label/Year: ECM, 2017
Lineup - Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: bass; Joey Baron: drums.
For many decades, the consistently solid bassist Gary Peacock became a crucial voice in trio projects led by master pianists such as Bill Evans, Paul Bley, and Keith Jarrett.
A couple of years ago, he joined his own traditional piano trio composed of nimble pianist Marc Copland, with whom he collaborated many times before, and scintillating drummer Joey Baron, also not a stranger to him. The result was Now This, released in 2015, and now the brand new Tangents, a wonderful excuse to celebrate his 82nd anniversary. This intimate body of work consists of original compositions by all three musicians plus two covers.
“Contact” opens the curtains that lead to Peacock’s musical serenity with an uplifting solo bass introduction. After a reflective period where the ambivalence spreads, the trio sticks to a sweet-tempered groove that unties the knot of abeyance and takes them to triumph.
“December Greenwings”, which first appeared on the bassist’s 1979 album December Poems, flows in a rubato mode and is initially set with Copland’s intermittent harmonic movements. Bassist and pianist speak the same language, sharing analogous ideas that are quickly volatilized with the help of Baron’s non-expansive brushwork.
“Tempei Tempo” gradually gained my attention through its enticing rhythmic accentuations and a seductive swinging flow that would fit the universes of Keith Jarrett and Charles Lloyd.
A ruminative triangular free improvisation entitled “Empty Forest” is placed between two timeless ballads of eternal contemplation that definitely make this session richer. They are Alex North’s love theme for “Spartacus” and Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green”, both carrying the perfect ambiance for Copland’s lush chords, Peacock’s full-bodied woody sounds replete of intention, and Baron’s round brush strokes.
With the intention of agitating a bit this marvelous lethargic state they got immersed in, the trio inflicts some more rhythm with the addition of “Rumblin”, an Ornette-inspired tune where folk, blues, and swing elements are thrown into the same bag.
Even with the word blues in the title, Copland’s “Talkin’ the Blues” is devoid of the genre’s explicit tics since the band uses their superior artistry to turn it into a floating and whispering roam. This tune was retrieved from Copland/Peacock's 2004 duo album What It Says.
Cooked up with in-depth excogitation, “Cauldron” and the title track exhibit the same open nature, exploring widely within the noble aesthetic arrangements.
Playing with polish and gravitas, Gary Peacock and his peers go deep in the music, communicating effectively and poetically while expressing themselves with no preconceptions.
01 – Contact ► 05 – Spartacus ► 11 - Tangents