Mark Turner Quartet: Live At The Village Vanguard He has no website (yet) and no records as a leader in the last 10 years. But he's probably the most influential tenor saxophonist of his generation. Hear a live recording from the legendary venue.

The Mark Turner quartet at the Village Vanguard. L-R: David Virelles, Turner, Ben Street, Paul Motian. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

The Mark Turner quartet at the Village Vanguard. L-R: David Virelles, Turner, Ben Street, Paul Motian.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Live At The Village Vanguard

Mark Turner QuartetWBGO

Mark Turner Quartet: Live At The Village Vanguard

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/137208196/137349202" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The kids these days: They want to sound like Mark Turner. Well, at least the saxophone students do, and sure, certainly not all of them. But he's still probably the most influential tenor man of his generation. Why is that?

Perhaps you haven't heard of Turner, if you don't follow modern jazz closely. He hasn't put out any records as a clear leader for about 10 years now; he has no website. But he has an innovative sonic signature, a certain floating chromaticism, rhythmic mindfulness and lightness of tone, filled with subtleties. Basically, his music has personality, which keeps the best musicians ringing his phone, and the aspiring ones listening hard.

Hear for yourself. Turner marshaled a band for a week at the Village Vanguard in New York City, including the talismanic drummer Paul Motian. WBGO and NPR Music presented a live webcast of the Mark Turner Quartet live from the club on Tuesday, June 21.

Turner is known for having studied the pantheon of saxophone masters in depth: The John Coltranes, Joe Hendersons, Dexter Gordons and Sonny Rollinses. But unlike many of his peers, he's also assimilated much information from Warne Marsh, the tenor saxophonist known best as an associate of pianist Lennie Tristano. In other words, Turner has absorbed some unusual stuff, which has helped give his playing its "who else would think to do that?" qualities. With him this go-round were pianist David Virelles, a young and increasingly sought-after musician from Cuba via Canada, and bassist Ben Street, who's partnered with Turner on many a gig over the years. As for Paul Motian, at 80, he's still something like the Vanguard's unofficial drummer-in-residence, and a loose, iconoclastic player at that.

Mark Turner grew up outside Los Angeles, and is among the many acclaimed musicians who attended music school in Boston in the late '80s and early '90s. He then moved to New York, where in a sunnier time for the jazz recording industry, he was offered a record deal with a major label. After four albums, the industry forecast was not so sunny, and he was dropped. Turner has continued many of his musical associations, though: most notably, his longstanding mind-meld with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, as well as Fly, the collaborative trio he co-leads with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard.

Not surprisingly, Turner is a frequent performer at the Vanguard. He's appeared on NPR Music and WBGO's Live at the Village Vanguard series at least four times in the last three years. Those are only the appearances we've recorded; when he takes the stage next Tuesday, it will have been less than a week and a half since was last there, in the quartet of drummer Billy Hart. This show, however, his name was atop the poster by the red doors.

Set List
  • "Crepuscule With Nellie" (Monk)
  • "Dance Of The Infidels" (Powell)
  • "Conception Vessel" (Motian)
  • "Balkins" (Hart)
  • "Sonnet For Stevie" (Turner)
  • "Mumbo Jumbo" (Motian)
Personnel
  • Mark Turner, tenor saxophone
  • David Virelles, piano
  • Ben Street, bass
  • Paul Motian, drums
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Michael Downes, assistant
  • Michael McGoff, assistant
  • Lara Pellegrinelli, moderator
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Ernie Andrews Courtesy of HighNote Records hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of HighNote Records

Ernie Andrews On Piano Jazz

Hear the vocalist bring his own special mix of energy, drama and humor to this 1998 episode with host Marian McPartland.

Ernie Andrews On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/549414757/549414978" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Patrice Rushen Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Patrice Rushen On Piano Jazz

Hear the songwriter and master keyboardist perform with host Marian McPartland on this 1987 episode.

Patrice Rushen On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/545865051/545871170" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Dennis Manuel/Courtesy of the artist

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

This special summer festival episode features a clever synthesis of hip-hop, R&B and soul, recorded live across two music festivals in New York City.

Aww Yeah, Summertime — With The Robert Glasper Experiment

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/542780066/542781768" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Bill Charlap and his mother, Sandy Stewart. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

Hear the cabaret singer and her pianist son bring a rare combination of swing and sophistication to a session with host Marian McPartland.

Sandy Stewart And Bill Charlap On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/535960111/535960769" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marian McPartland and Eddie Gomez in 1993. R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives hide caption

toggle caption R.J. Capak/Piano Jazz Archives

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

The Grammy-winning bassist's sense of swing shines through on this session with Marian McPartland, who joins in on "My Foolish Heart" and "All Of You."

Eddie Gomez On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/533993916/533995152" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joshua Redman on saxophone, Scott Colley on bass, Brian Blade on drums and Ron Miles on cornet perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Still Dreaming: Joshua Redman's Tribute To A Tribute

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The saxophonist opens up about the legacy of his father, Dewey Redman, and performs with Still Dreaming — his own nod to the quartet his dad once helped convene as an homage to Ornette Coleman.

Terence Blanchard is the guest on this week's Piano Jazz. Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Henry Adebonojo/Courtesy of the artist

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

The Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer joins Marian McPartland to perform standards like "I Thought About You" with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi.

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/530240350/530241963" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top