Press Release: Earth Tones - Dave Turner - ER 0506


Proudly Presents the Virtuoso Saxophone Player and Composer

as he launches his New Quintet CD,

(Elephant Records - ER 0506)
Featuring Dave Grott on Trombone, Vanessa Rodrigues on Hammond B3,
Kenny Bibace on guitar, Jim Hillman on drums and Dave Turner on Baritone sax

A prominent figure in the Montreal jazz scene for the past thirty years, Dave Turner returns from a self-imposed sabbatical with his tenth album, "Earth Tones". Magnificently recorded by CLaire Lawrence, this cd features Dave Turner's exploration of the baritone saxophone, an exceptional treat for jazz lovers. This latest opus features 5 original compositions penned by Dave Turner, along with 2 lesser known standards of the jazz repertoire, Duke Ellington's "The Feeling of Jazz" and E.C. Redding's "The End OF A Love Affair".

Renowned alto sax star Dave Turner has added a new dimension to his artistic expression. Although adopting a different voice, Turner’s message remains the same: the communication of honest emotion and beauty through a solid respect for jazz tradition.

For some time, Turner has been working hard to hone his skills on the baritone sax and make the big horn his own. Turner’s longstanding talent as a composer is well displayed in the five original compositions heard here, at least four of which are dedications. “Skip” with its clever use of repeated pedal whole notes, subtly reflects the personality of the late bassist Skip Bey; “For Stan Patrick” is a lament for the late Bermuda-born pianist. The somewhat raucous, long-lined bop tune “Fortitude + Self Denial” is dedicated to the irrepressible big band leader Vic Vogel: the title is Vic’s often-expressed formula for survival as a jazz artist. “Commissioner Symonds” is a tribute to the legendary guitarist Nelson Symonds with whom Turner had a popular quartet in the early nineties.

The remarkable feeling of cohesion generated by the present Turner band is due to the talents and shared empathy of the five musicians, and the fact that this is a working band which has been together long enough for a group personality to emerge. This debut recording of Dave Turner’s new band was first heard on Katie Mallock’s “Jazz Beat” programme on the CBC 1 and CBC 2 national networks.

Turner’s own playing and compositions — whether in classic forms or odd structures — are so infused with the possibilities of the blues that all of the players respond with their own deeply felt explorations. Listen to the last four bars of Kenny Bibace’s understated but perfect introduction to “Skip” on the first track, or to the elemental blues rhythms of Dave Grott’s masterful trombone solo on the same cut. Organist Vanessa Rodrigues manages her fourfold role of accompanist, bass-line time keeper, ensemble member and soloist with a facility and élan that reflects her obvious love of the idiom.

Essential to the group’s success, given the absence of a bass player, is the drumming of Juno Award winner Jim Hillman, a longtime Turner associate. Whether laying down expert shuffles or contributing interpolations to complement and urge on the soloists, Hillman keeps solid time with a pulse that is always present and playing that is never intrusive.

The title “Earth Tones” accurately implies the darker sonic textures, firm grounding and deeply-rooted feeling of the music heard here. The new Dave Turner quintet, with its rich timbres and available baritone, trombone, guitar and organ frontline, combines the generous solo room of a small group with the thick sound and reserve power of a much larger ensemble. The refreshingly distinct personality of this great big little band promises much more good music to come.