Marc Copland Quartet: Someday

The pianist's group takes a subtle, reserved attitude to postbop originals and standards including Someday My Prince and Nardis

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The small-group post-bop jazz field is heavily overpopulated, but despite the fact that this set qualifies for the description it still has much to recommend it. Leader Copland is a pianist not given to overstatement, and that marks him out in that equally overpopulated field of busy contemporary jazz pianists.

All of this is evident on the refined yet far from sterile Someday My Prince Will Come, in which Verheyen makes his case as a tenor sax player of some individuality with a well-developed feeling for how to voice a note. Gress and Ferber are right in the flow too, making for quartet music which plumbs the emotional depths and suggests these individuals know intuitively how to meet the demands of a song.

Copland’s Day And Night is the longest performance in the set, and in this case length doesn’t result in a loss of dynamics or emotional impact. Elsewhere Verheyen shows something of an allegiance to Wayne Shorter, tenor sax-wise, but here he embodies that cliché about being his own man. The music overall proceeds at a pace which keeps the listener engaged, only flirting with the high-energy approach that often results in loss of substance.

Miles Davis’s Nardis closes things, and suggests the group has just the right amount of reverence for the material. Verheyen again comes into his own, a point which the leader seems to sense as for a considerable time he lays out.

As with sets by Don Braden and Bobby Watson that I’ve recently reviewed for JJ, this is one that I’ll be coming back to for the sheer pleasure of listening to it. In these days of diminishing returns that’s something to be thankful for.


Discography
Someday My Prince Will Come; Spinning Things; Dukish; Let’s Cool One; Round She Goes; Encore; Day And Night; Nardis  (59.23)
Robin Verheyen (ts, ss);  Copland (p); Drew Gress (b); Mark Ferber (d). The Samurai Hotel, New York City, USA, 11 & 12 January 2022. 
Inner Voice Jazz IVJ 107