The modern mainstream doesn't often get as rarefied as this, and that very point is one of this quartet's greatest strengths. Guitarist Samo Salamon's playing is rhythmically ambiguous with a happily singular mellowness, and it's abundantly obvious that tenor saxophonist Matt Brewer's bass line, which has the odd effect of delivering momentum through the notes that are left out. Warne Marsh has in the past been referred to as an influence on Turner, but the comparison isn't all that helpful on a superficial level. Turner is far more rhythmically involved than Marsh habitually was, but he does have a similar preoccupation with not repeating himself. Here he digs deep, calling up ascending phrases against Aljosa Jeric's propulsive yet somehow diffident drumming.
"High Heels" is a similar model of rhythmic ambiguity, this time topped off by an angular theme that prompts some of Salamon's most reflective work. His phrasing is entirely his own, and it's true to say that in a more general sense he shows no overt influence, as if he's sprung fully formed onto the scene. Propulsion is again a matter of highs and lows, but this time the intensity lies in the way the guitar, bass and drum trio seems to breathe as one. Turner seems appreciative of this too, beginning his solo with a series of low register bleats around which the trio coalesces before different territory is mined and the overarching concept that is 'the music' again comes into its own.
"Internal Affairs" is as reflective as anything here, the mellowness of the guitar emphasizing the point, and Turner's tone, a model of breath control yet with a grainy edge, comes into its own. Again the theme is not an instantly memorable one, but rather the kind that will find a place in the psyche after repeated exposure. Brewer's bass takes the material apart and puts it back together in a different order in his solo, and that point might well serve as emblematic of the entire program. In journeying along a road less traveled, this quartet has put together a body as unassumingly compelling as anything out there.
Visit Samo Salamon, Aljosa Jeric and Mark Turner on the web.
Personnel: Mark Turner: tenor sax; Samo Salamon: guitar; Matt Brewer: bass; Aljosa Jeric: drums.