Wisconsin-based cellist Matt Turner is apt to stretch his instrument of choice to the far-reaching limits of time, space, and practicality, whether performing in rock, jazz, or contemporary classical frameworks. With Crushed Smoke, the artist opts for the solo route via his acoustic and Yamaha electric cellos. Essentially, Turner serves up a series of mind-bending improvisations amid a cornucopia of variegated motifs throughout these fifteen cleverly articulated performances.
The cellist mimics what appear to be animal sounds or perhaps a cranky old codger on "Smoking Carnivore," as he also emulates the sound of heavy machinery amid concentrated patterns and dissonant lines on "Fractals." Otherwise, Turner injects percussive statements, haunting thematic opuses, austere classicism, and emotive dialogue into his rather compelling repertoire. Needless to state this is heady stuff, yet Turner's often daring and hypermodern concepts often bespeak a mark of distinction.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.