Marc Copland is a spellbinder. His previous two albums on the German Pirouet label were the first two volumes of a projected trilogy, New York Trio Recordings, with Gary Peacock on bass and either Bill Stewart or Paul Motian on drums. Those two volumes were a single, self-contained moodscape. But now, before the trilogy is completed, comes Another Place, and it is just that.
It has a different texture because of John Abercrombie, Drew Gress and Billy Hart. They support Copland’s luminous lyricism but give it an edge. Abercrombie’s presence makes Copland’s music denser because his guitar and Copland’s piano introduce most themes in loose, twisting unisons. They share a treble tonal range, but Copland chimes while Abercrombie stings.
Abercrombie also contributes strong compositions. “Ballad in Two Keys” is like a starry night, an expanse of bright details from guitar and piano and a contrasting bass solo from Gress that is interested in darkness. “River Bend” circles and is released in a rush, Hart crashing and clattering.
The final piece is Cole Porter’s “Everything I Love.” It makes you want to hear many more familiar songs transformed by this quartet’s proprietary process, in which flashpoints of revelation from Copland and Abercrombie are swept in a stream of momentum generated by Gress and Hart.