The son of session trumpeter Ray Copeland, drummer Keith Copeland is a mainstay of the European jazz scene and is certainly no stranger to SteepleChase devotees. Back about five years ago he hooked up with two Irish musicians- guitarist Tommy Halferty and bassist Ronan Guilfoyle- and the trio proceeded to cut two albums under Copeland’s leadership. A follow-up to those studio efforts, THE IRISH CONNECTION and ROUND TRIP, LIVE IN LIMERICK is assembled from several concert appearances in Ireland and it more than adequately reveals the obvious synergy that these three share.
As the lead melody voice, Halferty has more than enough chops to carry the day. His sound is slightly processed, yet sharp and well-defined all the same. Imagine, if you will, a smart mix of John Abercrombie, John McLaughlin, and Jim Hall for a more comprehensive image. Copeland’s musicality and nimbleness come as no accident, with mentor Alan Dawson being a strong influence. His extensive solo on the closing "My Shining Hour" is a fiery statement delivered with confidence and panache.
While nothing all that dramatic or life-changing occurs here, there’s the palpable excitement of a live performance evident throughout, thanks also to careful engineering, may I add. Standards, one original, unsung tunes from Ralph Towner and John Scofield, and ample playing time make LIVE IN LIMERICK a real sleeper that will provide extra sustenance for guitar and drum buffs alike.