Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gary Peacock Trio: Now This (2015)



Gary Peacock Trio: Now This
Some of bassist Gary Peacock's earliest musical associations speak to a career that has been nurtured by unusually well-rounded experiences. Subbing for Ron Carter in gigs with Miles Davis, playing with the Bill Evans Trio and pianist Paul Bley and a stay with saxophonist Albert Ayler provided Peacock with foundations that ran the gamut from main-stream balladry, to conceptually modern jazz to the most unrestricted free jazz. All of which led up to the three-decades long relationship with Keith Jarrett and drummer Jack DeJohnette for which he is best known and where his finely developed skills lend themselves to that highly innovative group.

With a very different trio, Now This is often darkly lyrical with a quiet dignity. Drummer Joey Baron—who often draws comparisons to Paul Motian—has never sounded more like the late drummer with a masterfully subtle touch. Pianist Marc Copland has worked with Peacock in various settings for three decades and is a master of harmonics. His work with guitarist John Abercrombie, saxophonist Greg Osby and bassist Drew Gress have earned high praise while Copland has remained puzzlingly under-recognized as one of the finest pianists and composers on the scene.

"Gaia" and "Shadows" the first to pieces on Now This are brooding and unhurried but are followed by "This" where a bit more dissonance is propelled by Baron's refined but forceful playing. Copland pushes that avant-garde essence as he guides the trio through "And Now," "Esprit de muse" and "Moor" the latter two being faster-paced and more complex numbers. Copland's fascinating composition, "Noh Blues," only hints at blues while providing a perfect backdrop for solos and interesting group interchanges. Throughout the pieces Peacock explores the full range of the bass pushing and pulling the music with him through unexpected turns.

There is not a wasted note to be found on Now This where the compositions—some re-worked, others, new—strongly suggest a portentous air. Peacock, Copland and Baron expertly develop the pieces in that light so that, despite the overriding thoughtfulness, it is never certain in which direction the journey is moving. Now This is an thought-provoking collection rendered by brilliant performers.

Track Listing: Gaia; Shadows; This; And Now; Esprit de muse; Moor; Noh Blues; Christa; ;Vignette; Gloria's Step; Requiem.

Personnel: Marc Copland: piano; Gary Peacock: double bass; Joey Baron: drums.

Record Label: ECM Records

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