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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

CD Review: Mark Turner Meets Gary Foster


Gary Foster (alto sax); Mark Turner (tenor sax); Putter Smith (bass); Joe LaBarbera (drums)
Review by Dave Brownlow

The ‘Lennie Tristano School’ had a big influence on the evolution of jazz and its subsequent history. It included many “collaborators” in the 1940s and early ‘50s notably Tristano himself, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Billy Bauer and our own Ronnie Ball and Peter Ind and three of them provide compositions for this double CD.
The Turner/Foster saxophone duo, supported by experienced bassist Putter Smith and drummer Joe LaBarbara delve into core pieces from the Tristano oeuvre. This is not a recreation of the past, but a “live” re-visiting of seldom-played compositions from a historic movement with a nod to more recent innovations, techniques and interactions. The selections are all extended performances(except What’s New at 6min 24sec) ranging from 11min 43 sec to 15min 50sec. For the listener, it’s quite a challenge without a piano or guitar to provide the chord sequences, so it helps to know the structure of the original songs.

Background Music is a long up-tempo romp through Warne Marsh’s sinuous contrafact based on All Of Me where all four players shine. Sonny Red’s Teef, at a bluesy mid-tempo, is perfect for their free-flowing ideas. Tristano’s Lennies Pennies based on Pennies From Heaven is well guided by the hard working Putter Smith whose lithe bass shoulders the entire chordal responsibility throughout the album. A musical drum solo from LaBarbera reminds us that he’s lost none of his technique and ideas since the years when he was such an integral part of Bill Evans’ latter trios.

Harold Arlen and Johnnie Mercer’s Come Rain Or Come Shine - a feature for Turner- begins with an astonishing unaccompanied cadenza subtly leading to an oblique theme statement as the band joins in. Bass, then an extended, complex tenor workout leads to another fine, tasteful LaBarbera contribution.

Tristano’s oblique 317 East 32nd Street based on Out Of Nowhere opens Disc 2. Again the solos are relatively easy to follow bearing in mind the well-known chord sequence. Turner’s solo here is particularly interesting in his use of intervals and the whole range of the saxophone. The drum solo is so very musical as Joe improvises cleverly on the chord patterns.

What’s New? Bob Haggart and Johnny Burke’s standard from the GASbook is taken at a comfortable, relaxed tempo as a feature for Foster. His alto tone is more Desmond than Konitz on this selection. Finally, Konitz’s Subconscious-Lee begins with out-of tempo contributions from all before Lee’s fiendish theme based on What Is This Thing Called Love? develops into an improvised duet from the saxes including a passing reference to Hot House the famous bebop contrafact so often used by Bird and Diz.

Overall, a fine double CD featuring four of today’s masters playing at the top of their game with fluency, imagination and confidence.
Dave B
Available May 17 on CAPRI 74156-2 from: http://caprirecords.com

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