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Fly: Year of the Snake

Fly is saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jeff Ballard. Back in 2009, they released their ECM Records debut Sky & Country to critical acclaim, and here they are three years later with the follow-up, titled Year of the Snake. Generally in a trio format (more often than not in jazz, piano or guitar is the lead instrument) there tends to be a lot of extended arrangements and improvisations, but Fly wisely mix in the improvs amidst pieces that are full fledged songs. With tunes written by all three members, Year of the Snake has many flavors, textures, and moods for any jazz enthusiast.

"Brothersister", composed by Turner, is a laid back, chilling piece, that wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack of the classic film Taxi Driver, complete with stirring, mournful lead sax melodies that just tug at your soul. Ballard's "Diorite" is a more upbeat and complex piece, with dissonant lead sax lines and intricate rhythms, while the lengthy "Kingston", from Grenadier, features some impressive solos from the bassist, with Turner's slithery, snaking melodies floating over the top. The furious "Festival Tune"is one of the more aggressive numbers on the CD, as Turner lets loose torrents of stabbing notes amidst muscular bass from Grandier and Ballard's busy cymbal crashes. "Salt and Pepper" has a ton of groove, with lazy sax explorations giving way to slippery bass solos and acrobatic drum fills, and the more atmospheric "The Western Lands" , which is mostly a long suite but sprinkled throughout the album, features haunting melodies highlighted by Turner's chilling sax and Grenadier's mournful bowed bass.

Year of the Snake is certainly not the happiest or most upbeat jazz record you'll hear this year, but for its depth, warmth, and variety of tones & colors, it's splendid nonetheless. Fly are a trio that are serious about their craft, and any jazz fan should seek this one out.

Track Listing

  1. The Western Lands I
  2. Festival Tune
  3. The Western Lands II
  4. Brothersister
  5. Diorite
  6. Kingston
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. The Western Lands III
  9. Benj
  10. Year Of The Snake
  11. The Western Lands IV
  12. The Western Lands V

Added: July 29th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ ECM Records
Hits: 1800
Language: english

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