Matt Turner

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The cello doesn't exactly have the most auspicious pedigree as a jazz instrument. Early experimenters in the 1950s tended to be bass players with intonation trouble; more recent players can't seem to resist the blandishments of new age. With Matt Turner, there are no such problems. His playing is assured, spunky, and, above all, extremely varied in style and approach. His sweet-and-sour take on the standard "I Fall in Love Too Easily" is a masterful adaptation of straight-ahead jazz horn technique; when he comps behind the piano solo on "Solar," his approach is wholly original even as it's self-effacing; on "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me," he creates slurs out distorted-sounding overtones that could have been created by Jimi Hendrix. And his approximation of a slide guitar on "Ground Zero" is almost creepily accurate. Pianist John Harmon's playing is excellent as well, but he is inevitably overshadowed by Turner on this amazing recording.

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