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Fly: Year of the Snake

Tenor saxophone with bass and drums is a jazz format with a wild and woolly tradition. For tenor virtuosos like Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson, trios have been opportunities to risk everything, to dance on a tightrope with no net.

The tenor trio that calls itself Fly breaks with this tradition explicitly. Fly plays cerebral, rapt, interactive chamber jazz, deriving a wide range of textures and colors from three instruments. Mark Turner often ascends to the tenor’s piping, keening altissimo register. Larry Grenadier often plays arco bass, in drones and murmurs and sighs. The asymmetrical, spare designs of drummer Jeff Ballard imply time rather than keep it.

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