Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Sky & Country
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
Fly is a leaderless collective comprised of three influential American jazz musicians Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard are all powerful individual voices in the jazz community (One, both or all have graced the... more »
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Fly is a leaderless collective comprised of three influential American jazz musicians Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard are all powerful individual voices in the jazz community (One, both or all have graced the performances and recordings of Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Pat Metheny, Charles Lloyd, to name just a few.) who have created a cohesive unit that expresses each part while creating an uniquely realized whole. In other words, they celebrate the group, without sacrificing the individual. In the era of individual "star" instrumentalists, the idea of a truly collective trio can be a difficult concept to fathom. Yet collectivity is what the FLY trio strives for; and collectivity is what they so unabashedly and unquestionably achieve. Ballard, Grenadier and Turner - all very sought-after session-musicians/side-men - represent three rather distinct musical personalities -- simultaneously complimentary and contrasting. "Because we've all been sidemen a lot, the idea of playing in a collective band--it's completely inclusive of everything we've done. All the experience of all the different bands we've played with is absorbed in this group." This is the ECM debut for Fly, a Fly provides the context in which all three players get to spread their wings as composers, "bringing together many musical elements, traditions, histories and mysteries," says Turner. The music is unique; it can be harmonically rich or very bare bones and often just simply beautiful.
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Todd M. Stellhorn | baltimore, MD | 04/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've always had a soft-spot for the sax-trio; that spacious formation where technique and ideas are tested, and where if we're very lucky saxophone gods are born. This type of pianoless trio, with a tenor centerpoint in the bass/ drums triangle, immediately brings to mind the (still) great Sonny Rollins, and the precedent he set with albums like Night At The Village Vanguard, Way Out West, and Freedom Suite. Those were all powerful, hard-driving sonic tributes to an unbeatable tenor sound, backed up by skillful ringers in the bass and drum slots, who reacted and backed up the aggressive musings of Rollins. Sky and Country, by the Turner/Ballard/Grenadier collective Fly, is on the other hand a much different (but no less interesting) animal than it's untamed-Rollins-ancestor. An animal slightly cooled by it's ECM recording and melodic sensibilities, but far from domesticated.
For one thing Fly is truly a cooperative, not two sidemen backing up the snaking tenor of Mark Turner. From the rotating authorship of it's compositions, to the free-flowing, intertwined, airy sound, there is no one instrument that dominates the proceedings at the expense of the others. This is a collaboration in name and in form. Interestingly enough these musicians are familiar with each other not just from Fly's eponymous first release: 2004's Fly, but from their many sidemen gigs, working in some combination with Joshua Redman, Brad Meldau, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Chick Corea, and Reid Anderson, among others. Another plus in the experience column is that they are actually a touring group, not just a semi-allstar two-off. As such you can hear their progression from their (very solid) 2004 debut. In that first album Mark Turner was somewhat too tentative, and Jeff Ballard too assertive, but on Sky and Country the balance is chilled perfection.
The other big difference from their first album is the change in record label. ECM, like Blue Note before it, isn't just a label, it's a measurable sound; and like Blue Note it has it's share of champions and detractors based not only on it's personnel but on it's engineering. Whereas Blue Note had that RVG enmeshed gut-level blues, that earth bound sound that had the bass/drums tangled up over the piano, ECM is known for it's spacious-quiet, it's clean and clear separation of the bass and horns, that atmospheric sublime quality that lends itself so well to the European side of things. The saxophone playing of Mark Turner is right at home in this ethereal sound, coming as it is out of Warne Marsh (it's a sad commentary on old timey jazz critics that it's considered "brave" for a black saxophonist like Turner or Braxton to admit to a white influence in their sound, but not surprising considering that many older jazz critics are still in the mind-space of the glorious 60's anyway). And like Marsh, Turner shows to full effect his long snaking lines that are also long on ideas and melody, lines that float like a balloon caught in an invisible current of cool air. This contrasts well with the looping funk of Ballard's drums, and the cascading effect of his cymbal work. Into this languid stew comes Larry Grenadier and his strong, woody, bass (and sometimes cerebral arco), a solid anchor that keeps the music from floating off into space and out of reach.
If you're looking for a reference to help you decide if this album is worth the price of admission I'd say it's a cross between Lee Konitz's cool but charged sax-trio album Motion, and some of the more atmospheric musings of the Paul Motian trio like I Have the Room Above Her (infact Lovano and Turner have much in common). I can see how this might not be for everyone, but if you're like me and love hearing a different take on the sax-trio then you won't be disapointed by this up-and-coming co-op.
A superb highly anticipated album !
ziryab | Bethlehem, PA | 05/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ir is very hard to say anything more than what was already stated in previous reviews but sometimes you just need to write something to say how much you liked an album and that gives you a reason to write a review. Even if I repeat what the other reviewers said it is a fantastic record, with fantastic musicians playing at their best. Mark Turner is incredible here even much better than in the 2004 release of FLY, everything seems more balanced, of course the ECM contributed to the great sound but it is more than that: it is only after listening to it several times and even more that you realize the importance of this recording, there is always more to discover, more to be attentive to... The coherence of the trio is just masterful. Highly recommended!
Another incredible performance of Mark Turner was on the Delbecq Unit release of 2004 called "Phonetics". Check it out, it is also a fantastic record.
One of the best records of 2009
Alberto Egoavil | 05/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ECM always bring us superb music, this record is no exception ,is pure beautiful. What a sax,bass,drums trio!!!!!!"