Tim Hagans
"Alone Together"

Alone Together

Review by Brad Walseth

Marc Copland is having a great year. His "New York Trios, Vol. 2 (Voices)" with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian is one of the best disks of the year (see our review here). He has also just released "Another Place" with John Abercrombie, which seems to be another winner. Meanwhile, trumpeter Tim Haskins is having a pretty good year himself, having released a recent stellar big band recording with Peter Erskine (our review here), so the pairing of these two superb and prolific musicians would seem to bear fruit, and indeed it does.

Backed by Copland's regular trio members, drummer Jochen Ruckert and bassist Drew Gress, and featuring four (of seven) Copland compositions, this Pirouet release could be considered another Copland-with-a-guest-star outing, but Hagans does indeed nearly steal the show with his fine trumpet work. Recalling a pre-electronic Miles, but with meatier timbre, Hagans' bright and melodic horn is a nice contrast to Copland's impressionistic atmospherics and the trumpeter strikes a nice balance between technique and emotion.

"See You Again" opens and has a definite Miles flavor. Straight ahead bebop, Ruckert pushes the music to the edge with his aggressive drumming. Copland continues to impress as one of the best and most original pianists composing in jazz today. Meanwhile, "Sweet Peach Tree" is an interesting burner that may be the highlight of the album. "Over and Back" cleverly strings snippets of standards together in intriguing fashion and features a tasty Gress bass solo, and "Not Even the Rain" is a lovely quiet number with classical underpinnings. The standards do make an appearance with the compelling arrangement of the title track, a moody take on "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "Stella by Starlight," where Hagans bravely takes on the ghost of Miles and survives. Fans of trumpet jazz, piano colors and solid straight ahead, but compositionally adventurous jazz will enjoy this excellent outing from some fine musicians who clearly seem to be on a roll.

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