Mark Turner, Lathe Of Heaven (ECM)
The tenor saxophonist bases the CD’s title on an Ursula K. LeGuin sci-fi novel in which dreams seem to change reality. Her story line turns on unclear perceptions, but Turner’s music is unambiguous in its extension of modern mainstream jazz tradition. Though the harmonized lines he plays with trumpeter Avishai Cohen bear intimations of Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter, Turner’s compositions and the emotional unity of the quartet’s playing, particularly in “Sonnet for Stevie,” have individuality rooted in his fealty to maintaining the purity of the blues. Without being depressing, the music has an attractive atmosphere of melancholia. The interaction of Turner, Cohen, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore approaches ESP. This splendid collection is Turner’s first album as a leader since his Dharma Days of 2001. It’s high time.