Mark Turner/Tad Shull: Two Tenor Ballads

Pairing Mark Turner with swing specialist Tad Shull was an inspired idea, but on Two Tenor Ballads their interaction level is virtually nil. Their playing, supported by the fine rhythm section of Grenadier, pianist Kevin Hays and drummer Billy Drummond, is beautiful throughout-Shull’s gorgeous sound borrows from Don Byas and Lucky Thompson to great effect-but it’s little more than a blowing session, and on half the tracks the saxophonists play alone with the rhythm section. Turner’s recent Ballad Session (Warner Bros.) is more satisfying and his playing is much better, but this Criss Cross album offers a nice glimpse at his beginnings.