Lathe of Heaven

Lathe of Heaven

Tenor saxophonist Mark Turner is one of the most important and influential musicians of his generation. He’s brought his distinctive sound to countless albums, and he's also a member of the formidable trio Fly. Lathe of Heaven is his first release as a leader since 2001’s Dharma Days, and it’s a finely cut gem. Turner’s quartet includes trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Marcus Gilmore; the group has a sense of balance, cohesion, and clarity that's striking. The compositions—all penned by Turner—are melodic, clear-headed, and mysterious. The head on the title track brings to mind Ellington, modernist chamber music, and Miles Davis circa 1967. (Lathe of Heaven takes its title from a 1971 science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin.) Turner turns in a gripping solo as the rhythm section creates a churning yet restrained sea of sound. “The Edenist”—whose title refers to the work of another science fiction writer, the British author Peter F. Hamilton—features the steady pulse of Morgan’s bass-walk and stellar statements by Cohen and Turner. The horn playing on the slow-tempo “Brother Sister” is gorgeous.

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