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In the era of individual “star” instrumentalists, the idea of a truly collective trio can be a difficult concept to fathom. Yet collectivity is what the FLY trio strives for; and collectivity is what they so unabashedly and unquestionably achieve. Ballard, Grenadier and Turner represent three rather distinct musical personalities — simultaneously complimentary and contrasting — who have created a cohesive unit that expresses each part while creating an uniquely realized whole. In other words, they celebrate the group, without sacrificing the individual. “FLY is progressively bringing together many musical elements, traditions, histories and mysteries,” says Turner. “ Multiplicity is presented under an unassuming hat. Meaning, we are working toward saying it all without saying it all, expressing complexity by simplicity. Musically speaking, we are creating songs that can be heard on a number of levels and from a variety of different viewpoints.” Although, drummer Jeff Ballard, bassist Larry Grenadier and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner have individually charted very distinct and highly successful musical careers — one, both or all have graced the performances and recordings of Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Pat Metheny, Charles Lloyd, to name just a few — the formation of the trio seems, in retrospect almost inevitable. FLY needed to happen. The trio can actually trace its origins back to Grenadier and Ballard’s teenage years in northern California. The two learned music together and often played gigs before they both migrated to the East coast in 1990. It was there the two met Turner and soon began to keep close company. They bonded, early on, both personally and professionally. However, it wasn’t until several years later that they “officially” came together as a trio. The occasion was a Chick Corea recording project called Originations, a collective record where each member of the Origins band contributed his own compositions. “I had been doing so many gigs with full ensembles, I wanted to do a trio date,” says Ballard. “So I asked Larry and Mark if they’d play one of the first songs I ever wrote, (Child’s Play)”. The chemistry was definitely there, so they decided to experiment further with the trio format, booking a few gigs here and there in New York City and then for a more extended tour in Italy. The three liked what they heard — their connection on and off stage was obvious — and as a result, FLY was born.

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