If your ears are starved for innovative jazz that blends punchy sax lines and dense, wild, worldbeat-flavored bass and drum rhythms, let this newly formed trio with an amazing pedigree fill the bill. Mark Turner was a sax star in the late '90s who was looking for a new situation, which he stumbled upon while working on a Chick Corea project called Originations, which included old friends Larry Grenadier (bassist for Pat Metheny and Joshua Redman) and drummer Jeff Ballard (Corea, Redman, Danilo Perez). If the swinging bass and percussion patterns weren't so tight and Turner's sax wasn't this melodic and precise, Fly might seem like it was three pals just having fun, as the exotic opening track, "Child's Play," might indicate. Essentially, the concept seems to be the trio listening and responding to each other in a frolicsome manner. On "Fly Mr. Freakjar," Turner is more eloquent and restrained as his cohorts rumble happily around him, as if trying to get him to loosen up (he does after a few minutes). Other highlights include the funky jazz centerpiece "JJ," on which Turner wraps his sometimes honking horn around increasingly dense percussion patterns and bass swirls. The disc slows down in the middle, favoring subtlety over insanity, but is happily rescued by the energetic "Todas las Cosas Se Van" and the funky, melodic, marching drum-driven Hendrix cover "Spanish Castle Magic." Fly is definitely a cooperative by three major jazz talents, but by the end you'll remember Ballard's mostly in-your-face drum lines the most.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran