Return from the Stars

Return from the Stars

In a sense, Return From the Stars is tenor saxophonist Mark Turner’s long-awaited follow-up to 2014’s Lathe of Heaven, using the same distinctive quartet instrumentation with two horns, bass and drums. The lineup differs, however: bassist Joe Martin remains, while trumpeter Jason Palmer and drummer Jonathan Pinson appear in place of Avishai Cohen and Marcus Gilmore. The precise yet flexible rapport of Turner and Palmer is key: Turner’s compositions are polyphonic in nature, often hinging on two parts as they interweave, and Palmer’s ability to bring out that strong second voice is crucial (his fierce chops as a soloist come in handy as well). Turner’s way of generating and dissecting harmony in sparse contexts without piano is a feast for the ears, not least on “Nigeria II”, a playful comment on Sonny Rollins’ famous “Airegin”.

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