Redwood Jazz Alliance

FLY: Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier, Jeff Ballard
Sunday, April 26th, 8 p.m.| Fulkerson Recital Hall

"[M]usic that expands and contracts effortlessly and dramatically and that balances the cerebral components of group improvisation with the more gut-level element of groove.”
—Nate Chinen, Jazz Times

"Delicate as a feather yet never lacking in substantive weight, [FLY] will alter the perception of what saxophone trios can be."
—John Kelman, All About Jazz

(For music, features from NPR, and reviews of the current tour in the New York Times, scroll to the bottom of this page)

Mark Turner
Larry Grenadier
Jeff Ballard

April brings tenor madness to Humboldt County. On April 16th, our friends at Center Arts welcome phenom Joshua Redman to the Kate Buchanan Room for a show with his touring trio featuring Matt Penman on bass and Greg Hutchinson on drums.

Ten days later, we host another of the truly great tenors of our time: Redman's friend and sometime collaborator--and the man New York Times senior music writer Ben Ratliff once called "The Best Jazz Player You've Never Heard"--Mark Turner, who'll be anchoring the collective trio FLY as they tour the U.S. and Europe behind a brand-new album on ECM records, "Sky & Country."

There's no shortage of highly charged sax/bass/drums trios in modern jazz history: Sonny Rollins set the standard, and Donny McCaslin's trio, another superb recent example, lit up Fulkerson just last Fall. But FLY is differently cast. It's guided by the principle of equal rights for all instruments: the saxophone seeks parity with bass and drums, and its refusal to fill all the space with sound brings another set of tensions into play. “Sometimes it’s the saxophone carrying the melody," says Turner; "other times it’s the bass or drums. We spread out the frontline duties among us.” Drummer Jeff Ballard describes the group as “an intimate band with teeth.”

Pianist Brad Mehldau, who works regularly with Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier in his own trio, puts it this way: “FLY brings together elements in their playing that are often at odds with each other: on the one hand their music can be intellectually challenging--their compositions in particular can be rhythmically and harmonically dense. In spite of that, their music makes a strong emotional impact, felt through the deep rhythmic groove and the organic way that these three musicians tell a story together.”

The group relased its first (eponymous) album in 2004, but their association stretches back much further. Grenadier and Ballard played music together as teenagers in California in the early 1980s and met Turner after they both migrated to the East coast in 1990. They've played in many permutations since then.

Mark Turner was born in Fairborn, Ohio in 1965, and moved with his family to California when he was four. He started playing clarinet at nine and later switched to alto, then tenor as a teenager. Since moving to New York in 1990 he has worked and recorded with dozens of musicians including Dave Holland, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dave Douglas, Lee Konitz and James Moody. He has five recordings as a leader and has won acclaim most recently for his work (with Grenadier, Stefano Bollani, and Paul Motian) on trumpeter Enrico Rava’s New York Days.

Larry Grenadier was born in San Francisco in 1966. He began playing bass when he was 11, and as a teenager worked in the Bay area with Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, and Bobby Hutcherson. After apprenticing with Gary Burton's band in 1990, he moved to New York and played in groups led by Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, Danilo Perez, Tom Harrell, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Paul Motian, Charles Lloyd and Brad Mehldau.

Drummer/percussionist Jeff Ballard was born in Southern California in 1963 and grew up in Santa Cruz, where he began playing drums at age 14. He toured with Ray Charles from 1988 through 1990, then moved to New York, where he has played and/or recorded with Chick Corea, Danilo Perez, Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joshua Redman, Enrico Rava  and many others.  Recent recordings include the Brad Mehldau Trio’s Live (with Grenadier), Metheny/Mehldau and Joshua Redman’s Momentum.

(Adapted from Two for the Show Media)

Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website, or at People's Records and The Works.

FLY will also present a FREE public workshop on Monday morning, April 27th at 10:00 the Studio Theater (Theatre Arts Building Room 115, just down the hall from the Van Duzer lobby).

News IconMore on FLY and its members:

video Video:

  • FLY on YouTube


  • FLY's new album, "Sky & Country," is showcased on WBGO's "The Checkout: New Music," along with a listening session with New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff. Josh Jackson interviews Mark Turner in a separate segment of the show.
  • FLY is also the subject of journalist and radio host Jason Crane's weekly podcast "The Jazz Session" for April 15th.
  • Mark Turner was featured in a recent gig with pianist Edward Simon on NPR's "Live at the Village Vanguard" (Turner's return to the stage after a power-saw injury last fall)
  • Josh Jackson's March 23d "Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler" on NPR Music surveys five of "The Tenors of Our Time" (Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, and Ravi Coltrane)
  • And finally, hear an audio stream of FLY's music by clicking the "Launch Player" button below:


Additional support for this show comes from The Arcata Eye, George Epperson DDS, Humboldt Outfitters, KHSU/KHSR-FM, Libation Wine Shop & Wine Bar, North Coast Brewing, Northtown Books, Renaissance Internet, and Threadbare Dancewear. Monday's free public workshop is made possible through the generosity of HSU's Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

If you or your business would like to consider sponsoring a Redwood Jazz Alliance event and/or advertising in our concert programs, please e-mail us or visit our Underwriting & Donations page.

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