Show business savants know the power of a marquee name in the credits, and the lesson has not been lost on jazz musicians. So it's no surprise that Canadian-born drummer Anthony Fung invited fellow Angeleno Mark Turner to guest on Fo(u)rth (Self Produced, 2023). The risk of being upstaged is always present, even with an artist as thoughtful and modest as Turner. And the saxophonist fairly dazzles on "Boo Boo's Birthday," the only cover on an album of Fung originals. The ease with which he slices through the metrical obstacle course of the arrangement is almost comical. But let's talk about Fung's arrangement, which changes time-feels, tempi and phrase lengths like NBA stars change teams. The chordless trio treats it as child's play. Like a basketball guard in a matchup zone defense, bassist Luca Allemano steps out front to play the melodic ball and then deftly moves to the baseline to double down with Fung on the rhythm. For his part, the drummer steps into the spotlight with his Jack DeJohnette chops down cold and gets pushy with the flow in the manner of his teacher Ralph Peterson (see Ralph Peterson Fo'tet: The Fo'tet Plays Monk (Evidence Music, 1997). It's exhilarating stuff and proof that there was plenty of star power invited to this "Birthday" party.
Contact John Chacona on All About Jazz.
John Chacona is a freelance journalist, content writer and producer in Cleveland.
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