1. Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner records often, as member of the trio Fly or as a sideman. But his new album, Lathe of Heaven, is his first under his own name in over a decade. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Turner’s a thinking person’s improviser. 

"Mark Turner’s “Lathe of Heaven” takes its title from Ursula K. LeGuin’s novel where the nature of reality keeps shifting. Turner says he thinks of this music as unfolding like a narrative, and you can hear the parallels. The music doesn’t give up its secrets too fast, as he parcels out his themes and sub-themes, establishing mood through the slow accumulation of details. His slinky melodies map out the terrain, foreshadowing the improvised action and interaction. That lets Mark Turner get a novelistic unity of effect. His clean plotting makes a cooler brand of jazz cool all over again."


Photo: Brian Harkin for the New York Times  View in High-Res

    Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner records often, as member of the trio Fly or as a sideman. But his new album, Lathe of Heaven, is his first under his own name in over a decade. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Turner’s a thinking person’s improviser. 

    "Mark Turner’s “Lathe of Heaven” takes its title from Ursula K. LeGuin’s novel where the nature of reality keeps shifting. Turner says he thinks of this music as unfolding like a narrative, and you can hear the parallels. The music doesn’t give up its secrets too fast, as he parcels out his themes and sub-themes, establishing mood through the slow accumulation of details. His slinky melodies map out the terrain, foreshadowing the improvised action and interaction. That lets Mark Turner get a novelistic unity of effect. His clean plotting makes a cooler brand of jazz cool all over again."

    Photo: Brian Harkin for the New York Times 

  2. mark turner

    jazz

    saxophone

    kevin whitehead

    fresh air

  1. Two new trio albums by tenor saxophonists who won the Thelonious Monk jazz competition share a conspicuous influence — vintage Sonny Rollins. Fresh Air critic Kevin Whitehead reviews  Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio by last year’s winner, 25-year old Chile-born New Yorker Melissa Aldana, and Trios Live by Joshua Redman, who took the prize in 1991.

It can be tricky, paying tribute to a grand master; you don’t want to invite a direct comparison. Melissa Aldana heads that off by not trying to sound too much like her hero. Her tone has body, but it’s a bit lighter and smoother than vintage Sonny Rollins, more alto-like in the upper register. Aldana was mentored by saxophonists Greg Osby and George Coleman, and you can also hear traces of Osby’s floating sense of time and Coleman’s smeary blues abstractions. That’s one way to transcend your key influences—mix ’em together, along with what you’ve figured out for yourself.

    Two new trio albums by tenor saxophonists who won the Thelonious Monk jazz competition share a conspicuous influence — vintage Sonny Rollins. Fresh Air critic Kevin Whitehead reviews  Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio by last year’s winner, 25-year old Chile-born New Yorker Melissa Aldana, and Trios Live by Joshua Redman, who took the prize in 1991.

    It can be tricky, paying tribute to a grand master; you don’t want to invite a direct comparison. Melissa Aldana heads that off by not trying to sound too much like her hero. Her tone has body, but it’s a bit lighter and smoother than vintage Sonny Rollins, more alto-like in the upper register. Aldana was mentored by saxophonists Greg Osby and George Coleman, and you can also hear traces of Osby’s floating sense of time and Coleman’s smeary blues abstractions. That’s one way to transcend your key influences—mix ’em together, along with what you’ve figured out for yourself.

  2. jazz

    saxophone

    melissa aldana

    kevin whitehead

  1. Starting in the late 1960s, jazz saxophonist Clifford Jordan produced a series of recordings mostly by other leaders, that were released on the musicians-owned Strata-East label. Those seven albums are now collected in a box set, The Complete Clifford Jordan Strata-East Sessions, on six CDs from Mosaic. The sound on these albums is just OK, but they all feature fiery playing, original material, and great and underappreciated players—especially rhythm players.

Kevin Whitehead reviews the box set The Complete Clifford Jordan Strata-East Sessions  

    Starting in the late 1960s, jazz saxophonist Clifford Jordan produced a series of recordings mostly by other leaders, that were released on the musicians-owned Strata-East label. Those seven albums are now collected in a box set, The Complete Clifford Jordan Strata-East Sessions, on six CDs from Mosaic. The sound on these albums is just OK, but they all feature fiery playing, original material, and great and underappreciated players—especially rhythm players.

    Kevin Whitehead reviews the box set The Complete Clifford Jordan Strata-East Sessions
     

  2. clifford jordan

    review

    jazz

    saxophone

    1960s

  1. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead looks at saxophonist Tim Berne’s album Insomnia, just released after a 14-year wait: ”The progress of Berne’s long suites unfolds like a road novel, full of picaresque or elliptical episodes, with heroes who end up far from where they started. Or, put yet another way, Tim Berne is a master of slow cooking. He keeps you waiting, but it’s worth it.” View in High-Res

    Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead looks at saxophonist Tim Berne’s album Insomnia, just released after a 14-year wait: ”The progress of Berne’s long suites unfolds like a road novel, full of picaresque or elliptical episodes, with heroes who end up far from where they started. Or, put yet another way, Tim Berne is a master of slow cooking. He keeps you waiting, but it’s worth it.”

  2. jazz

    kevin whitehead

    tim berne

    insomnia

    saxophone

  1. Before ‘Ipanema,’ Stan Getz’s Exquisite ‘Quintets’ 

  2. stan getz

    the girl from ipanema

    the clef and norgran studio albums

    jazz

    saxophone

  1. Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead on jazz saxophonist Henry Threadgill: “I don’t know anyone whose bands ooze through time the way his do. Even  when you hear where he’s coming from, he still comes at you sideways.” View in High-Res

    Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead on jazz saxophonist Henry Threadgill: “I don’t know anyone whose bands ooze through time the way his do. Even when you hear where he’s coming from, he still comes at you sideways.”

  2. kevin whitehead

    henry threadgill

    jazz

    saxamaphone

    saxophone

  1. 
Jazz Saxophonist James Moody, on his close relationship with Dizzy Gillespie: "For  the longest time, I used to call my wife — I used to call Linda, my  honey, and tell her, ‘Honey, I called you and you weren’t home.’ You  know?  She says, ‘Honey, I’ve been home all day.’ I said, ‘Well, but I  called’ — and then I’d say the number.  And she’d say, ‘Honey, that’s  Dizzy’s number.’ " 
Moody died on Thursday. He was 85. On today’s Fresh Air, we’ll listen back to a 1996 interview with Moody. View in High-Res

    Jazz Saxophonist James Moody, on his close relationship with Dizzy Gillespie: "For the longest time, I used to call my wife — I used to call Linda, my honey, and tell her, ‘Honey, I called you and you weren’t home.’ You know?  She says, ‘Honey, I’ve been home all day.’ I said, ‘Well, but I called’ — and then I’d say the number.  And she’d say, ‘Honey, that’s Dizzy’s number.’ "

    Moody died on Thursday. He was 85. On today’s Fresh Air, we’ll listen back to a 1996 interview with Moody.

  2. james moody

    saxophone

    jazz

    dizzy gillespie