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Mark Turner|Return from the Stars

Return from the Stars

Mark Turner

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Return from the Stars, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner's first solo album since 2014's Lathe of Heaven, has a progression that suggests an easy, organic flow across the eras and many influences from jazz history. Recorded in November 2019 at New York's Sear Sound studio by engineers Chris Allen, Gérard de Haro, Manfred Eicher, and Nicolas Baillard, mixed at Studios La Buissonne in Southern France and produced by ECM visionary Eicher, the sound is beautifully natural, full-bodied with breathtaking dynamic rage and a multi-dimensional image. While he has a flourishing career as a sideman, Turner as a leader and composer is a master of the small ensemble. His vision for leading and playing his free jazz-leaning compositions is decidedly enlightened, based on giving his collaborators room to express themselves within a loose framework. "I'd rather they find themselves in the music. The tunes are written in such a way that each musician has a choice in terms of how they take care of what they're supposed to be doing," he has said.  The freedoms inherent in this approach give a cool façade to Turner's compositions which nevertheless are muscular collaborations underneath. This desired blend of musical voices and visions is set in this session's first track, the title number, where Palmer and Turner play off and around each other. Spacious and taken at unhurried tempos throughout, Turner's writing often works in minor keys but isn't downbeat or overly bittersweet. Mostly he's a tasteful explorer of shifting textures. He and trumpeter Jason Palmer (whose cool, pure tone is a worthy partner/adversary to Turner's fuller tenor) soar together and apart in the a capella passages of the almost triumphant, "Waste Land." At the heart of Return from the Stars there's the longish discovery, "Unacceptable" which begins with punchy exclamations from Turner before he and Palmer deftly double lines. After an early climax, momentum builds via a beguiling solo by Turner that's driven by drummer Jonathan Pinson's energetic embellishments. After another climax, stabbing parts by Turner and Palmer return before a lyrical solo by Palmer leads to an increasingly quiet final section which finishes with bassist Joe Martin striking the last notes. Overall, it's a masterful composition and performance. Martin's bass is clearly the glue that keeps these sessions grounded and in a forward motion. Lively but not excessively vibrant, Pinson, whose resume includes stops with such jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter when he was younger and more recently Kamasi Washington and Ambrose Akinmusire, is a master at cymbal accents and complex patterns that embrace and utilize his entire kit. Only in the brisk boppy ramble "Nigeria II" that closes the album does the pace begin to gallop. Rather than fire and ice, Palmer and Turner are each a mix of both, neither prone to reckless speed or flashy outbursts, both dedicated to a patient, methodical mode of search and expression. While this leads to a certain sameness among these tracks, the careful artistry is undeniable. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Return from the Stars

Mark Turner

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1
Return from the Stars
00:09:31

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

2
Terminus
00:07:18

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

3
Bridgetown
00:08:53

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

4
It’s Not Alright With Me
00:10:21

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

5
Nigeria II
00:04:33

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

6
Waste Land
00:05:12

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

7
Unacceptable
00:12:18

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

8
Lincoln Heights
00:06:10

Gerard De Haro, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Allen, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Martin, Double Bass, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Mark Turner, Composer, Tenor Saxophone, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Manfred Eicher, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Palmer, Trumpet, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jonathan Pinson, Drums, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 ECM Records GmbH

Album Description

Return from the Stars, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner's first solo album since 2014's Lathe of Heaven, has a progression that suggests an easy, organic flow across the eras and many influences from jazz history. Recorded in November 2019 at New York's Sear Sound studio by engineers Chris Allen, Gérard de Haro, Manfred Eicher, and Nicolas Baillard, mixed at Studios La Buissonne in Southern France and produced by ECM visionary Eicher, the sound is beautifully natural, full-bodied with breathtaking dynamic rage and a multi-dimensional image. While he has a flourishing career as a sideman, Turner as a leader and composer is a master of the small ensemble. His vision for leading and playing his free jazz-leaning compositions is decidedly enlightened, based on giving his collaborators room to express themselves within a loose framework. "I'd rather they find themselves in the music. The tunes are written in such a way that each musician has a choice in terms of how they take care of what they're supposed to be doing," he has said.  The freedoms inherent in this approach give a cool façade to Turner's compositions which nevertheless are muscular collaborations underneath. This desired blend of musical voices and visions is set in this session's first track, the title number, where Palmer and Turner play off and around each other. Spacious and taken at unhurried tempos throughout, Turner's writing often works in minor keys but isn't downbeat or overly bittersweet. Mostly he's a tasteful explorer of shifting textures. He and trumpeter Jason Palmer (whose cool, pure tone is a worthy partner/adversary to Turner's fuller tenor) soar together and apart in the a capella passages of the almost triumphant, "Waste Land." At the heart of Return from the Stars there's the longish discovery, "Unacceptable" which begins with punchy exclamations from Turner before he and Palmer deftly double lines. After an early climax, momentum builds via a beguiling solo by Turner that's driven by drummer Jonathan Pinson's energetic embellishments. After another climax, stabbing parts by Turner and Palmer return before a lyrical solo by Palmer leads to an increasingly quiet final section which finishes with bassist Joe Martin striking the last notes. Overall, it's a masterful composition and performance. Martin's bass is clearly the glue that keeps these sessions grounded and in a forward motion. Lively but not excessively vibrant, Pinson, whose resume includes stops with such jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter when he was younger and more recently Kamasi Washington and Ambrose Akinmusire, is a master at cymbal accents and complex patterns that embrace and utilize his entire kit. Only in the brisk boppy ramble "Nigeria II" that closes the album does the pace begin to gallop. Rather than fire and ice, Palmer and Turner are each a mix of both, neither prone to reckless speed or flashy outbursts, both dedicated to a patient, methodical mode of search and expression. While this leads to a certain sameness among these tracks, the careful artistry is undeniable. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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