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Before & After With Mark Turner

The influences of a towering modern influence

Mark Turner
Mark Turner, Jazzhouse, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, 7-13

In September of 2014, Mark Turner released Lathe of Heaven, his sixth album as a leader, featuring a quartet of frequent collaborators: trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore. It was his first project under his own name since 2001’s Dharma Days, but it would be wrong to call the 13-year interim a hiatus. In that time, the Brooklyn-based tenor saxophonist recorded three albums with Fly, his collective trio with drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier, and appeared as a sideman on albums by Billy Hart, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Goldberg, David Binney, Gilad Hekselman and many others.

Turner’s long absence out front also did little to diminish his outsize influence. At 49, his singular sound has echoed through a generation of younger saxophonists including Ben Wendel, Melissa Aldana and Noah Preminger, but his status as one of the leading contemporary tenor players belies a cool, gnomic composure and an eternal student’s humility. Turner has advanced tenor vocabulary, but his trademark lithe tone, angular chromaticism and motivic approach to improvisation have a well-established history.

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