For improvising musicians, the duo is the most intimate of set-ups. Two musicians, alone together, reaching out and responding to the other in the moment, create a glorious frisson. In the right hands, the result is honest and revelatory music. This album was co-directed by two artists who blended their styles to offer dusky and dreamy music, mainly composed of ballads, except for a short final wild samba evoking Sao Paulo nights.
Mark Turner is one of the most admired saxophonists of his generation, renowned for his exploratory intellect and intimate expressivity on the full range of the tenor. This is his ECM leader debut, following albums for the label in the cooperative trio Fly with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, and appearances on key recordings by Billy Hart, Enrico Rava and Stefano Bollani. Turner leads a quartet of kindred spirits here, often entwining in serpentine fashion with rising-star trumpeter Avishai Cohen. They play long, introspective lines of hypnotic grace; and with the lithe rhythm section of bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore, there is subtle volatility in the air.
For his fourth outing as a leader, Mark Turner puts together a set of ballad standards. His usual quintet is mostly still in place, with Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar, Larry Grenadier on bass, and Brian Blade on drums, but Kevin Hays replacing Brad Mehldau on piano. The group picks some well-known popular songs, such as the Gershwins' "I Loves You Porgy," Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark," and "All or Nothing at All," an early hit for Frank Sinatra and a tune once essayed by John Coltrane. "Some Other Time," the Leonard Bernstein song from On the Town, turns out to be a particularly felicitous choice for jazz improvisation.