Mark Turner Quartet: Live At The Village Vanguard

Turner emerged in the 1990s as a Warne Marsh admirer. Last year, over two nights in NY, he confirmed his status as a thinking-man's musician


From being a youngish gun on the jazz scene to veteran performer has seemed to pass in the blink of an eye in respect of saxophonist Mark Turner, who on these highly impressive two nights at the Vanguard consolidates his position as a thinking-man’s musician.

Recorded under the auspices of Giant Step Arts, a non-profit making organization, this quartet performs 11 original Turner compositions where the modus operandi appears to be pre-planned but aurally conveys a spontaneous air.

The leader, initially cited as a Warne Marsh disciple, is a master of a style which could be called his own, readily able to display his considerable technique but always happy to take breathing space when appropriate. His front-line partner, Palmer, matches him in every department; happy to sustain notes, able to roll out fluttering clusters or simply acting as the perfect foil. Bassist Joe Martin, a long-time Turner associate, is bold in everything he puts down and Pinson is able to swing or break it up, as the often-shifting tempos demand.

The lack of a chord-based instrument is never a factor, whether the foursome take on the slow-paced Brother Sister, a piece sporting a long unaccompanied intro by the saxophonist, or Nigeria 2, introduced by a boppish unison line from the horns and on which the leader duels excitingly with the trumpeter. Turner’s tunes may occasionally have illusory themes but he understands how to create atmosphere, as on Wasteland, a slightly desolate prospect contrasting with the upbeat nature of Bridgetown.

If a fitting closer was needed, the busy Lennie Groove, is most appropriate, all about group interaction; a constant throughout this group of impressive performances.

CD1: Return From The Stars; Terminus; Bridgetown; Brother Sister; Nigeria 2; Lincoln Heights (63.15)
CD2: 1946; Unacceptable; It’s Not Alright With Me; Wasteland; Lennie Groove (67.00)

Turner (ts); Jason Palmer (t); Joe Martin (b); Jonathan Pinson (d). New York, 18 & 19 June 2022.
Giant Step Arts GSA 009