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Matt Turner

Matt Turner

Cellist Matt Turner calls his latest record a straightahead release, but a man who spends his listening time with avant-garde pianist Marilyn Crispell, experimental drum ‘n’ bassist Squarepusher and noisy albums from the Meniscus label isn’t going to record music fit for Arbors or Sea Breeze. Turner doesn’t quite fit the mold of straightahead bassists who can really swing, daddy-o. He has, however, taken a step back from the instrument-redefining antics of his solo bass release, Crushed Smoke (Tautology), and his brilliant, manic piano improvisations on Shards of Wiggett (Penumbra) to find steady footing along the threshold that divides “in” and “out.”

The shift in Turner’s musical attitude came when he moved to the Midwest from Boston. “Most of the recordings I’d done [in Boston] were more avant-garde and I didn’t really see the point of doing a straightahead album,” admits Turner. “When I moved to the Midwest, I started doing a lot more straightahead gigs. I started to really get into it; I started to really study it more.” That makes it sound like the Midwest conformed him, silenced his screeching strings. But make no mistake: Turner isn’t doing straight straightahead on Outside In, his recent album for Janet Planet’s Stellar! label.

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