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 at Elsewhere articles index

MILES DAVIS, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY (1990): Miles runs the voodoo down

MILES DAVIS, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY (1990): Miles runs the voodoo down

When trumpeter Miles Davis turned 60 in 1986 the New York weekly Village Voice marked the occasion with a lavish 28-page supplement of essays and critical opinion. By way of introduction the... > Read more

ONE WE MISSED: Umar Zakaria: Fearless Music (usual digital platforms)

ONE WE MISSED: Umar Zakaria: Fearless Music (usual digital platforms)

Elsewhere has occasionally written about the self-marginalisation of New Zealand jazz, notably with regard to the annual New Zealand Music Awards. Many years ago the jazz czars decided to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

EPs by Yasmin Brown: Asgeir, Abby Wolfe, Nidala, Silk Cut

EPs by Yasmin Brown: Asgeir, Abby Wolfe, Nidala, Silk Cut

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Yasmin Brown. She will scoop up some of those many EP... > Read more

YEAH YEAH YEAHS. COOL IT DOWN, CONSIDERED (2022): NYC, you mean something to me

YEAH YEAH YEAHS. COOL IT DOWN, CONSIDERED (2022): NYC, you mean something to me

Those who receive Elsewhere's weekly newsletter would know of what befell us in January 2023: flooding through the office which took out about 500 record albums, scores of CDs, books, travel... > Read more