AAJ: This new record is on ECM. How did that come about?
JB: I had done some records for them with Charles Lloyd. So we just put it out there and they were into it. Now we're almost ready to put out the record.
MT: We approached them. Larry talked to ECM and said, "What do you think about this idea?"
AAJ: I've been interviewing a lot of ECM artists recently, and many have said some similar things about the way that ECM allows for the artist or the ensemble to do its thing without a lot of interference, but with some artistic guidance from [ECM founder and producer] Manfred [Eicher]. What's your experience been like?
MT: I'd say that's true for the most part. There is some input from Manfred, but it's always been pretty helpful and had a lot of truth to it.
LG: I think we have a pretty clear idea what we want. We play the way we play, and there don't seem to be any doubts. We don't need any help in a babysitting way. Manfred's right there with a bagful of experience. And he has his specific sound, so that's a big element that he brings to the recording.
AAJ: The three of you are so busy individually in projects that don't involve the other two. How did you carve out the time to prepare for this record?
MT: There's been a lot of time between the first one and this one. Almost three years.
AAJ: Do you make time to get together? Have you talked about it over the phone?
MT: We planned for it ahead of time, discussed each person's schedule. Part of it was just making time for playing gigs in town around the time of the recording. And there are some other strategic moments when we can play. That's really it.
JB: We have done tours. Even though we haven't been recording, we've been going to Europe and playing. So we've been as active as possible with the restraints of our schedules. But it's really a priority for us to keep this band going. We're hoping that with the new record out, we'll be playing more and more.
AAJ: When you get back together after being apart for a while, does it all just fall back into place?
JB: It really falls into place. That's the beauty of it. We've been playing together so long, the three of usin this context and in other situationsthat every time we hit, it's like, "Wow, here we are again." There's no lapse. The music continues.
LG: I wanted to say something. You asked about how we prepared for the recording. In writing for the band or the record, we also talk about what would be needed for the record. How about a ballad? How about something that's very rhythmic? So those are also considerations that we bringwhat the book needs. Since we've playing tours and things, we've been able to introduce new tunes. So someone brings in a tune and we play it and they take it back and work on it.
AAJ: Are you planning a tour in support of this record?
l:r Larry Grenadier, Mark Turner, Jeff Ballard
JB: Yeah, in April in the U.S. and Europe in May.
AAJ: Mark, can you talk about what happened to your hand and how your recovery is coming along?
MT: I had an accident with a power saw. I do work on my house. I cut the tendons on my index finger and my middle finder. It's actually progressing a lot better than I was told it would. Originally I thought I would not be able to play until the beginning of May. But they're telling me I may be able to playnot a lot, but moving my fingers on the keysin January. So we'll see how that goes, but it's looking pretty good now.
Fly, Sky & Country (ECM, 2009)
Fly, Fly (Savoy Jazz, 2004)