Fly: Year of the Snake (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  1 min read

Fly: Diorite
Fly: Year of the Snake (ECM/Ode)

This sinuous, mysterious, rhythmic and back-to-the-bone album comes from a young trio which has impeccable pedigree.

Saxophonist Mark Turner has played with numerous ECM artists (Dave Holland, Paul Motian) as well as Brad Mehldau, Billy Hart and James Moody; bassist Larry Grenadier came through Gary Burton's band to clock up work with Enrico Rava (he and Turner were on the exceptional New York Days), three superb albums with Charles Lloyd including Lift Every Voice) and drummer Jeff Ballard spent time with Ray Charles, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Mehldau . . .

There is quite some collective experience here, and none of them have hit 40 yet. Off and on they have played together for 20 years.

This is their second outing as a trio for ECM and perhaps the hints to its sound lie in the short tracks interpolated throughout, they are variations on a theme called The Western Lands which was the title of a William Burroughs novel (which explored death, among other things).

Not to say this is gloomy or oppressive, rather that it is meditative, allusive and takes itself slowly through teased out rhythms and melodic lines where no single instrument strikes you as predominant.

That writing credits are evenly split also tells you of the democratic and equal division here.

Turner brings a plaintive sound in places, in others he gets an energy injection for a sprint across the top of the angular patterns laid down by Ballard (the 10 minute Kingston), and some pieces are abstract but never to the point of being willfully abstruse (the slightly mournful and ethereal Western Lands III). Diorite is weasling, minimlaist piece of repeated phrases then slight but important shifts in tone and direction.

Although one of the more easy albums to assimilate on a first hearing, this one opens itself up with every listening.

ECM release a lot of albums -- far too many for most to keep up with -- but this counts among the most interesting of recent times.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

SCOTTY BARNHART INTERVIEWED (2015): Leading Count Basie's band and legacy into the future

SCOTTY BARNHART INTERVIEWED (2015): Leading Count Basie's band and legacy into the future

Although the great jazz composer and band leader Count Basie died in April 84, the band plays on. The Count Basie Orchestra, an 18-piece recording and touring ensemble touring New Zealand... > Read more

CECIL TAYLOR IN 1990: Florescent flights

CECIL TAYLOR IN 1990: Florescent flights

Genius is the word a lot of people use about Cecil Taylor – but words get pretty debased these days. (“Genius, that‘s like brilliant - but better, yeah?” ) So... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Best Coast: The Only Place (Pop Frenzy)

Best Coast: The Only Place (Pop Frenzy)

Their debut Crazy for You might have been a bit too cute and calculatingly aimed at teenarama, but this Californian band -- formerly a three-piece, now down to singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino... > Read more

TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES: Robert Johnson, the blues and Clarksdale, Mississippi

TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES: Robert Johnson, the blues and Clarksdale, Mississippi

The intersection of highways 61 and 49 near Clarksdale in northwest Mississippi doesn't look particularly special: there's a car yard, a service station, a couple of kids listlessly kicking a ball... > Read more