Marc Copland: Mezzo Piano | my/maSCENA

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There are principally two meanings to the time period “mezzo” in music, the primary designating a midrange someplace between soprano and tenor, the second a dynamic marking neither too loud nor too tender. In jazz, the previous applies to decrease feminine voices, consider Sarah Vaughan, whereas the latter just isn’t the one the music is finest identified for. The stereotype of horns blaring and drums pummeling away have formed the general public’s notion of the music over time, to the purpose of turning off multiple music lover within the course of.

However for all of its boisterousness, there are many jazzmen and ladies who by no means felt compelled to crank up the quantity in any respect prices. Amongst them, one identifies a lineage of piano stylists who tickled the ivories however conspicuously averted pounding on their keyboards. Figures like Teddy Wilson, Rely Basie or John Lewis come to thoughts, none of whom would have ever detuned an instrument in efficiency.

In immediately’s jazz scene, Marc Copland is certainly one whose model rests on a gentler contact. Born in 1948, this native Philadelphian has charted a considerably uncommon path in that he began on piano as a teenager earlier than switching to alto sax in his teenagers, solely to return round full circle to his musical beginnings on the onset of his skilled profession.


Picture: F. Prandoni

Copland defined his choice throughout a dialog that happened earlier than considered one of two reveals he gave final October through the Off Jazz Montreal. “I used to be listening to increasingly more colors and textures in my head, so I wanted extra notes than what I might play on the saxophone, which is monophonic by nature. My friends, nonetheless, had been puzzled by this change of mine, however I spotted I had lastly discovered a house for myself. First, I needed to do the mandatory work to get to what I used to be listening to, however there was a sure consolation zone for me to do this, as I had already taken piano classes.”

In highschool, Copland befriended and performed alongside a variety of up and comers, two of whom would hit the large occasions, trumpeter Randy Brecker and his youthful sibling, saxophonist Michael. Early in his alto apprenticeship, Copland tagged alongside one night with a fellow music pupil to catch a Dave Brubeck gig.

After I walked in and heard 4 notes from Paul Desmond,recollects Copland,that was it: I used to be completely smitten. By the point I used to be 17, I began hanging out with Michael and thru him and his saxophone trainer, I used to be attending to know loads of different younger guys like me I’d not have met in any other case. One factor resulting in the following, we had been transferring away from Brubeck and moving into Miles Davis.”

As an apart, Copland was not his delivery identify. “Round 1970,” recollects the pianist born Marc Cohen, “Mark Cohen was a pop singer making the rounds again then. All of a sudden, I’d get requires his reveals. To keep away from the confusion, I created the one I am going below now. At first it was only a stage identify, however later I had it legally modified. And why Copland, you ask? Merely in deference to my favorite composer.”

Invoice & Paul 

Anybody aware of his enjoying will certainly hear a connection to Invoice Evans, undoubtedly probably the most influential position mannequin for jazz pianists over the past half century. To Copland’s remorse, he by no means met his elder, save for one event the place he might have. “I spent about 10 years in DC, working as a home pianist in native golf equipment, backing whoever got here by, a chance like no different to fulfill so many identify gamers. One among them was Artwork Farmer, and Evans was working just a few doorways away at one other place. Between units, a journalist instructed me Artwork known as Invoice to return down and test me out. I froze on the spot. He got here and sat proper behind me. I didn’t play that properly, so I assumed, however I keep in mind on the finish of 1 tune, Artwork type of appeared behind me, like he was saying: I instructed you! Being so younger then, I didn’t dare strategy him. Had I been older and extra skilled, like now, I absolutely would have.”

Additionally excessive in Copland’s esteem is Paul Bley, though not for musical causes alone. “I knew him personally. He was an actual character. To do what he did, and way back to the Fifties, took a whole lot of braveness. Take his All of the Issues You Are solo on the 1963 album Sonny Meets Hawk: to play bi-tonally was a fairly gutsy factor to do in jazz at the moment. Thoughts you, I didn’t actually test him out that a lot at first, till, someday, his one-time bassist Gary Peacock instructed me he heard one thing of him in my enjoying. So I began listening to him. By the Eighties, we knew one another, and there was one event the place we had been each enjoying in New York, and he came to visit on the lookout for a carry, so I provided. On the best way we stopped at this truckers’ diner until the wee hours. Mainly, he had nothing to say on the music, however from a enterprise viewpoint he nailed it: he instructed me methods to deal with myself higher, displaying what I used to be doing mistaken, and placing me again collectively.”

Fruitful Associations 

Marc Copland Trio with John Abercrombie

On report, Copland’s identify seems on near 40 albums, each on home labels (at the moment his personal Inside/Voice/Jazz) and others overseas. Of the latter, his relationship to the Swiss imprint Hat Artwork has been helpful, permitting him the perfect publicity so far on the worldwide market. As he recounts, it began virtually by a fluke, in that he stepped in for a colleague, Invoice Carrothers, chosen to take part in a deliberate sequence of piano albums for the label that, ultimately, by no means materialized. Nevertheless it opened a door for Copland, who turned out 5 recordings for the label early within the 2000s.

In an age when self-production has taken over a lot of the recording enterprise, Copland has joined the fray. For him the New Yr bodes properly, in that he has two trio initiatives within the offing, the primary together with his Montreal sidemen, bassist Adrian Vedady and drummer Jim Doxas, the opposite together with his stalwart compatriots, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Joey Baron (pictured above).

Those that missed Copland final Fall together with his Montreal unit and saxman Chet Doxas added can have one other alternative to catch them reside on Feb. 10 at Salle Bourgie, albeit at 50% capability, or on-line and on demand from Feb. 17 to March 3.

Additionally on this situationOff the Report (Critiques of Canadian new releases from Montreal and Toronto).


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