Mark Turner's Harmonic Language

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by d-sciple, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. Hi, Janek! First, I would like to say I've been listening to your record for a few months now and I keep coming back to it. It sounds amazing. The playing and the writing are top notch. I was thrilled to see the musicians you chose to play with and get to hear some of them in a slightly different context than I have heard them in, one being Mark Turner. I been listening to Turner since his first records and really love his harmonic language and writing. I think he has come into a unique and very identifiable writing and playing style.

    So now, (I know what your going to say) I now need to do some transcription work to better figure out what he is doing, but is there anything maybe that you have transcribed or heard in his playing that you could shed some light on? (approaching a 2-5, playing over a vamp etc...) and how doe this effect how you play bass behind him?

    Thanks, Tommy

    P.S. I'm ready for your second record!!!
  2. user3653753

    user3653753 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2004

    thanks for your post, and thanks for checking out my record.

    I'm actually going to Austin in 10 days to make a new record. It's going to be a completely new thing, and i'm very excited about it. I'm also planning a new record in 2007 with orchestra and quintet. Gary Husband and Tim Miller for sure in the band.

    so to your post....

    there are a bunch of things that Mark is doing harmonically that are great. He's someone who spends more time with his instrument than anyone since john coltrane, so it's not just the notes he's playing , but more so his connection with his sound and the horn.

    There are many classical excercises he's working on for his falsetto range (which is one of the best in the world) as well as a lot of augmented stuff and various functions he's come up with. Both him and Kurt Rosenwinkel use simlar approaches to improvising with their harmonic language.

    And yes, I'm going to tell you to transcribe the stuff, because me telling you what it is, isn't going to help you at all. You'll take it in and then lose as quick as you heard it. If you work on the stuff yourself you're going to take something far more unique from the experience.

    Mark makes no huge difference to my approach of playing behind a soloist. I'm constantly listening to annyone I'm playing with, and reacting to them as and when something great happens in the solo. I will say that he is one of the most amazing sax players to work with as he takes things to places most people can only dream about. He's one of a kind, and that is huge for an imporvising musician.


  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I would also say that he's pretty heavily influenced by Warne Marsh and Getz (check out LONG ISLAND SOUND and any of the quintets with Jimmy Raney), another saxophonist he speaks very highly of is Jimmy Halperin.
  4. Hey Janek! Thanks. Time to hit the shed!!! Just inquiring, I'm constantly inspired by musicians playing on your level. I've checked out the lennie tristano & wayne marsh stuff and I hear a connection from that to Mark's playing for sure.
    I'm also very inspired by Tim Miller's sound and legato approach.
    Is there anything specific that you have practiced to help in terms of legato phrasing besides just practicing the usual patterns and stuff, but slurring the notes instead of picking each one? I've been working on that stuff, but it has not really worked it's way into my improvising yet and I still seem to want to pick every note. (Not that that's a bad thing, but it's definitely a different sound than what Tim is achieving) I would like to have better control as far as the legato phrasing goes. I also like the way it makes the time of the lines feel on acoustic bass when soloing. (smoother and more swingin')
    Thanks for the post, your new record sounds like it's going to be great. Can't wait to hear you and Tim with strings.
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