This week at the midtown club Birland, named after famous saxophone player Charlie Parker, three outstanding musicians filled the room, which was covered in red carpet, with soothing and original melodies and sounds. On Friday night, the audience was shushing and faint sounds of silverware could be heard in between songs. But for the most part, listeners were very respectful of the musicians and their work.
Bass player Gary Peacock, pianist Mark Copland and drummer Joey Baron played standards such as “For Heaven’s Sake,” “Gloria’s Steps” or “Time remembered,” as well as original compositions. Friday night’s first set went by very fast because every tune was captivating. It looked and sounded like the musicians could not play a single wrong note. Also, they mixed their respective musical colors so well that it felt like they had played together since a young age – they connected rhythmically, melodically and sonically.
The trio started the evening with “Estate,” which Brazilian singer and guitar player Joao Gilberto is famous for. “Estate,” the right song to open the set with, was smooth and sophisticated and felt like a comfortable piece of clothing to put on.
The trio also played “Moor,” an original composition by Peacock, who has played and recorded with world-renown pianists Keith Jarrett (with whom he still plays) and Bill Evans. “Moor” was an experimentation with the drums: instead of using his sticks, Joey Baron used the drums as percussions.
One of the most memorable aspects of the performance may have been Gary Peacock’s sound, which is uniquely warm and generous. This is probably due to years of practice, but maybe, too, to the musician’s practice of zen philosophy. He said the first thing he does when he wakes up is just sit and do nothing.