This popular Phoenix-based ensemble does something daring for a smooth jazz group trying to break out into national recognition -- actually offer variety from track to track, rhythmically and stylistically. The band came upon its name a few years previously when each of the four principals began to realize that this new band was the "turning point" in his career. The prophecy was fulfilled when, just a few years later, they were all able to put aside their lives as sidemen and dedicate themselves to the band full-time. They took their self-produced, self-released debut to Phoenix's National Public Radio station, KJZZ, and the response was phenomenal. Since the mid-'90s, Turning Point has recorded A Cool Jazzy Christmas (1996), Together (1998), Bridges (1999), and this one, originally released independently in 2000. Some of the more energetic tracks, like "Hot 'n Spicy No. 3," would seem more comfortable for the live format than on radio play lists, but maybe their idea is to create a turning point for the sometimes restrictive genre. "Estrella" is a light funk piece featuring guitarist Thano Sahnas' brisk acoustic guitar melody; the title track is a moody jazz fusion tune in the style of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays' best work; "Tribal Voices" opens with Indian chanting and a haunting native beat; and "Athena" offers a fiery mix of explosive rock and smooth jazz. "Jay" is a much more conventional, light funk ballad led by Sahnas' cool acoustic guitar melody.
A Thousand Stories Review
by Jonathan Widran