Mark Turner’s Leader Project on ECM Slated for September
Posted 2/27/2014

The last time saxophonist Mark Turner released an album under his own name was in 2001, when he issued Dharma Days for Warner Bros. In the meantime he’s been busy, recording three albums as the co-leader of the cooperative trio Fly (with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard) and two albums as a member of the SFJAZZ Collective, along with numerous other projects.

Turner is a member of veteran drummer Billy Hart’s quartet—along with pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street—which released its debut disc, All Our Reasons (ECM), in 2012. The quartet will release One Is The Other (ECM) on March 4 and begins a five-night residency at New York’s Birdland on the same night. (Hart is the subject of a feature in the April issue of DownBeat, which hits newsstands on March 18.)

Despite his busy schedule, Turner took his new quartet—trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore—into the studio last summer to record an ECM album under his own name. The group followed up the recording sessions with a six-night stand at the Village Vanguard.

“Except for the SFJAZZ Collective,” Turner explained, “I’ve done most of my writing for trios, and I wanted to add another voice. Instead of adding a chordal instrument, I added the trumpet. I’d never written for trumpet, and it’s such a major force in jazz that I wanted to address it.

“With a keyboard or guitar, the chords are right there, so you don’t have to be specific about what notes each voice is going to play to create the chord. It’s more of a challenge than when you’re writing for horns without a chordal instrument, because you have to specify what notes the horns and bass are going to play to form the harmony. But I like a challenge.”

The long-awaited disc is due out in September. “It was going to come out in the spring, but it would conflict with another release I’m on, the Billy Hart Quartet, so they get to go first. But my quartet is a band I hope to work with a while. We recorded more music than we could put on one album, and we’ll record some new music, so there will be at least two albums.”

—Geoffrey Himes


Saxophonist Mark Turner will perform with the Billy Hart Quartet at Birdland from March 4–8, and plans to release a leader project in September (Photo: John Rogers/ECM).

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