Each of these two duet albums features tenor saxophonist Mark Turner working with someone with whom he normally plays in a quartet. In the case of Temporary Kings, that someone would be pianist Ethan Iverson, who works with Turner in drummer Billy Hart’s quartet; on Faroe, it’s Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug, who invited the saxophonist into the Mikkel Ploug Group in 2005. In both cases, Turner’s distinctive sound is a key part of the music’s appeal, but how it fits in is quite different on each.
Temporary Kings, recorded in Lugano, Switzerland, is the more ethereal session, drawing on the austerely cerebral legacy of Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh as well as the intimate dynamics of chamber music. Hard-swinging it’s not, but neither does it sidestep jazz tradition. Instead, Iverson and Turner employ understatement, suggestion, and artful feints to transform the blues in “Unclaimed Freight” or boil a chord progression down to its essence, as with Marsh’s “Dixie’s Dilemma.”