Matt Turner


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In the acoustic world, there are still some Luddites and technophobes who continue to lament the demise of the vinyl LP. They'll tell you that the digital realm is cold and that records had a much warmer sound than CDs. But they're a minority; the vast majority of acoustic-oriented musicians will tell you that CDs have been a major blessing for acoustic music -- be it jazz, classical, folk, bluegrass, or traditional Middle Eastern oud playing. Recorded in 1995, Matt Turner's Infiltrator bears that out. Turner's unaccompanied performances -- some on cello, some on piano -- remind listeners how great the digital medium has been for acoustic music. There is no tape hiss to distract or annoy the listener; all one hears is pure, unadulterated music, and all the intricacies of Turner's playing are there for listeners to enjoy -- that is, if one has a taste for this type of music. Infiltrator is avant-garde jazz of the AACM variety, and Turner has obviously been influenced by avant-garde classical. Abstract and cerebral, Infiltrator is the sort of disc that would appeal to fans of Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, and Muhal Richard Abrams; like those AACM improvisers, Turner goes for the type of outside playing that favors space over density. Turner doesn't go out of his way to be harsh and abrasive, but at the same time he doesn't go out of his way to be accessible to those who haven't developed a taste for this type of music. Infiltrator, like so much avant-garde jazz, must be accepted on its own terms -- there's no getting around that fact. But for those who do comprehend what Turner is doing, this CD is worth checking out.

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