Mark Turner Quartet @ Jazz Standard 18-21

We’ll talk about individuality and its value in a sec, but know this up front: the esteemed tenor saxophonist has been a fetching player for a couple decades now, able to engage even casual jazz listeners with billowing horn lines that swoop and swirl to their own inner rhythms. Currently pushing 50, he’s entered yet another growth zone these days – on Stefano Bollani’s Joy In Spite of Everything he adds an attractive dollop of whimsy to his often dark-hued inventions. And the lyricism that marks his work on the new Lathe Of Heaven (ECM) – the first album under his own name since 2001 – seems even more profound than previous. It has no guitar or piano, so chordal direction becomes moot, making the band’s interaction wonderfully fluid. As Turner and trumpeter Avishai Cohen careen around each other, there’s plenty of elbow room available – negative space helps contour this album’s demeanor. And offset the tenets of that individuality mentioned above. Turner will never be confused with any other reed player operating today. There’s a serenity to his lines, even when they’re tilting towards explosive territories or being pressured by the rhythm section of bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore. This week’s stint at the Jazz Standard will have lots of people talking.

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