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.