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Fly: Year of the Snake

Mark F. Turner By

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Track review of "Kingston"

While there are numerous jazz trios, few leave a lasting impression. This is not the case for Fly, consisting of younger but fully established jazz artists— saxophonist extraordinaire Mark Turner and his equally talented cohorts, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard.

At just over ten minutes, the episodic "Kingston," from the trio's sophomore ECM release, Year of the Snake , encapsulates rousing composition and exhilarating improvisation. What begins tentatively, with inquisitive probing—elongated unison lines and gentle militaristic drums taps—evolves into a powerfully funky groove with an elastic tenor solo moving like a cobra as the bass and drums provide the knotty backbone.

But it's at the seven-and-half-minute mark where things get really interesting. A new theme emerges at the break where Grenadier bowed ostinato leads the music into a cyclonic free for all. Turner repeats the pattern in unison, and then parses it into new directions with his usual display of dexterity and rich tonality, as Ballard provides cymbal showers until the initial theme is reintroduced. "Kingston" is momentous, and represents a fine example of the trio's prowess and its ability to reinvent itself.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Mark Turner: tenor saxophone; Larry Grenadier: double bass; Jeff Ballard: drums.

Title: Year of the Snake | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: ECM Records


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