Tangents is mostly new music from Gary Peacock and his two pals, Marc Copland and Joey Baron. But listen to the love theme from Spartacus and hear Alex North's score thrillingly transformed.
"Marc and I have a kinship in that we both aspire to something that can’t be conceptualised – something more intuitive." There is nothing precious about this observation from Gary Peacock, referring to his long-time associate, pianist Marc Copland.
The truth of the statement is well in evidence on the pair’s latest collaboration which has the sense of keen or well-honed- who knows? – improvisation. That is leaving aside the two standards, a reading of Miles Davis’s Blue in Green and an utterly beguiling interpretation of Alex North’s love theme from the movie Spartacus. The latter, it might be said is the best thing on the record, if it is not somehow unorthodox to name a standard as the best tune on an album that comprises mostly new music.
The veteran bassist’s own tune Contact opens proceedings, quiet and intimate, with mildly Asian or Oriental beginnings. Dig those brief tinkles over the piano, an effect resembling hand-bells, Peacock’s purring double bass getting into the groove with the tune. A rich, variegated, modal affair, it is addictive stuff, like pretty much everything else on the record. Drummer Joey Baron brings frisson and dynamism to the trio with his cymbal work on his own tune, Cauldron, whose sense of propulsion stirs vague echoes of the music of Andrew Hill.
Composed by the trio in collaboration, the fascinating Empty Forest evokes that self-same title image with a slow considered release of notes and intervals, pauses and brief solo feints. It's like a kind of huddled conversation between the players and one of the best things on the album.
There is the sense of a mature crop about these tunes, fresh thinking deriving from mature reflections, deep-delving sensual exploration.