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Turning Point

When the combustible four-man force of musical nature known as Turning Point took over the Phoenix club scene in the mid-90s, the desert city's nights truly became as steamy as its days. Establishing itself before packed houses at hotspots like The Famous Door and Beeloes, and later becoming regional sensations playing some 200 dates a year, the band grew to embody the freewheeling creative spirit of indie music. Drawing on each member's musical and cultural background, Turning Point forged an eclectic sound that mixed progressive jazz with rock, R&B and blues, with touches of Greek music and--paying homage to their home in the Southwest--Latin jazz. The title of Matador, Turning Point's Native Language debut and sixth album overall, perfectly captures the band's bold evolution into a true rock instrumental powerhouse.

"We've always strived to be diverse in everything we do, and Matador is the best example yet of this no holds barred approach," says guitarist Thano Sahnas. "Since we never stop performing, we're able to try out every brand new song onstage to see what works best. Audiences will literally hear our songs for a year before we officially record them, and it's fun to watch as they evolve. A bullfight is a fight to the death. A bullfight is a fight to the death, and there's definitely a double entendre in the title. We're out there fighting every day, and we're going to win."

The four members of Turning Point--Thano Sahnas, his brother Demitri Sahnas (acoustic and fretless bass), keyboardist Steve Culp and drummer/percussionist John Herrera--faced a lot of flak in their early years for creating a genre practically unto themselves defying music industry convention. This initial resistance inspired them to push the envelope even further, and the payoff with audiences has been phenomenal. Their music appeals to fans of many of the top rock, R&B and smooth jazz artists they have opened for, from Michael McDonald to Little Feat, chill performer Praful, acid jazzers Down To the Bone and The Rippingtons.

Turning Point has received acclaim for all of its previous releases, beginning with a self titled debut in 1995 and including A Cool Jazzy Christmas (1996), Together (1998), Bridges (1999) and A Thousand Stories (2000), which was produced by famed bassist Brian Bromberg and released nationally by A440 Music. Together earned the band its largest national audience, receiving airplay on more than 40 smooth jazz stations. Yet the eleven tracks on Matador capture the band on the cusp of reaching its creative potential, and the addition of saxophonist Dominic Amato as a featured player on the record has allowed Turning Point to stretch their musicality even further.

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Matador

Native Language
2005

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