Ballad Sessions

Ballad Sessions

by Mark Turner
     
 

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For a jazz player, making a ballads album is akin to placing yourself in the lion's den. The architectural precision of a great ballad's structure gives you no place to hide, and leaves you only one way to extricate yourself with grace: by interpreting the melody with beauty, and then making improvisations that are equally beautiful. A tough order for even the most…  See more details below

Overview

For a jazz player, making a ballads album is akin to placing yourself in the lion's den. The architectural precision of a great ballad's structure gives you no place to hide, and leaves you only one way to extricate yourself with grace: by interpreting the melody with beauty, and then making improvisations that are equally beautiful. A tough order for even the most mature of players, but the still-evolving tenor saxophonist Mark Turner pulls his first all ballads project off with aplomb. Turner has attracted attention in the last few years by mating the styles of two very dissimilar saxophonists: the brilliant, if fairly obscure, cool school giant Warner Marsh, and that of John Coltrane, the most influential saxophone stylist since Charlie Parker. Turner uses such classic ballads as "I Loves You Porgy," "Skylark," and "All Or Nothing at All" as well as such modern gems as "Nefertiti," "Visions," and "Late Lament" to prove how mating these two distinct takes on jazz sax is not so far-fetched. Turner also has the good sense to surround himself with younger topflight instrumentalists including drummer Brian Blade, bassist Larry Grenadier, and pianist Kevin Hays. In their hands, well-worn vehicles are given a refreshing kick in the butt.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
For his fourth outing as a leader, Mark Turner puts together a set of ballad standards. His usual quintet is mostly still in place, with Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar, Larry Grenadier on bass, and Brian Blade on drums, but Kevin Hays replacing Brad Mehldau on piano. The group picks some well-known popular songs, such as the Gershwins' "I Loves You Porgy," Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark," and "All or Nothing at All," an early hit for Frank Sinatra and a tune once essayed by John Coltrane. "Some Other Time," the Leonard Bernstein song from On the Town, turns out to be a particularly felicitous choice for jazz improvisation. Also included are compositions from jazz composers, such as Wayne Shorter ("Nefertiti"), Herbie Hancock ("Alone and I"), Paul Desmond ("Late Lament"), and Carla Bley ("Jesus Maria"), and these performances point toward the saxophonist's major influences. He and his group hold their own, playing with assurance and feeling. Ballad Sessions doesn't break any new ground for Turner, but it demonstrates his grasp of jazz history and repertoire.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/01/2000
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624763123
catalogNumber:
47631

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