Mark Turner

Dharma Days

Warner Brothers, USA

Mark Turner, teor saxophone; Kurt Rosenwinkel, guitar; Nasheet Waits, drums; Reid Anderson, bass

If the major labels are going to open young ears up to something new, guys like Turner may do the trick a lot faster than Sony/Columbia's inadvisable signing of the David S. Ware Quartet some years back: I like "out!" Jazz, often the more "out!" the better, but, well, you might not. Translation: low sales. Don't get scared off this fellow, now: Turner has a highly invdividual take on melody, coming in at you through the side door, the basement stairs, and the service entrance with a certain modal feel that oddly recalls the 1963-68 Miles Davis Quintet, and then wigs out a little further. Turner isn't a Shorter acolyte however, in that his playing does not have that "questioning" air: rather, his "statements" use a neighboring vocabulary to Shorter's. And for those of you who turn off the stereo when the saxophonist goes through the roof, no, none of that here. In fact, Turner's rigorously melodic tone owes more to Lester Young than anybody else (especially in the closing "Seven Points," which owes a point or two to Ron Carter's old workhorse "Mood."), exhibiting that the man has a delicious sense of history. Nasheet Waits is one of the first drummers I've heard since Robert Wyatt or John Stevens who views the entire drum kit as a continuum, all toms or snares or cymbals get equal treatment: his drum interlude on the opening "Iverson's Odyssey" has a springy divination of time recalling Joe Morello. Bassist Reid Anderson seems a bit undermiked although I like what I can hear, and Kurt Rosenwinkel's electric guitar has a chiming John Abercrombie-like spareness. He comps minimally and, as in "Myron's World," discourses as an equal wth Turner here, joins him for long melodic twin statements there. It's unfortunate Turner chose not to cover any old standards this time out, but it's not that he had to, either. When you pick this up, and I think you should, the first few times you hear it Dharma Days comes off a little dry. Keep listening; it comes into focus in good time. Usually very good.

by Ken Egbert

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