Fly - Sky & Country (3 stars)

Fly - Sky & Country

(ECM Records)

Fly are three very well known contemporary jazz musicians, saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. That pedigree suggests something special and they pretty much serve up just that - an intelligent, intricate set of highly interactive jazz (Ballard describes them as ‘an intimate band with teeth’, which gets pretty close to what is going on shere).

While that kind of rarefied jazz discourse suggested by the rhythm duo’s connections with Chick Corea and Brad Mehldau is certainly the core of their music, it is inflected with more surprising deviations into hip-hop and funk grooves, with a bit of ethnic influence thrown in. It’s all very clever and highly musical, but it’s not just clever - the players are clearly intently engaged with each other and the music. One of the classiest ECM releases in a while.

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