FLY
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FLY

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
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Maybe it's the vaguely socialistic leanings of the jazz intelligentsia that has made the myth of the leaderless trio so persistent over the last 40 years. I've rarely found these claims of equality as convincing as I do with Fly, a newly formed ensemble with tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jeff Ballard.
Ballard's suggestion that this group functions "like gears instead of layers" describes the trio's most satisfying musical element. Leaderless is not to be confused with formless. If anything, there's more attention to the nuance of form here than on many contemporary jazz recordings. Rather than standard head-solo-head format, the songs blend two or three distinct sections together, placing more emphasis on the movement between structured passages than on soloists blowing over them. There are a lot of moments when, taken in isolation, the three seem to be spinning in entirely different directions, but the disparate parts somehow end up meshing rhythmically and harmonically in a way that feels precisely right.

Ballard and Grenadier each contribute three songs (an auspicious introduction to composing for both), Turner one, and they collaborate on another. Grenadier's work is deep and rich—from the somber lilt of "State of the Union" ("A simple love song for complex times," he calls it) to the polyrhythmic hop of "JJ" (a nod to funk session bassist Jerry Jemmott) to the abstraction of "Emergence/Resurgence." Turner plays tastefully and with great economy—part of why you're left feeling there's more to come. Even on the extended tracks "Fly Mr. Freakjar" and Reid Anderson's "Todas las cosas se van" there's room for more. Grenadier appears with the Brad Mehldau Trio, and Turner with his quartet, as part of the SFJazz Spring Season. Hopefully the trio will team up and perform here as well.
- Bruce Wallace, SF Guardian


Drummer Jeff Ballard, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner and bassist Larry Grenadier comprise Fly, one of the hottest new groups on the post-bop modern jazz scene. Their self-titled debut on the resuscitated Savoy Jazz imprint runs the voodoo down from free-style improvisations to more structured and melodic compositions.
As teenagers, Ballard and Grenadier cut their teeth on bandstands throughout Northern California before heading to the East Coast where they met Turner. Years later, the threesome became part of a Chick Corea recording project dubbed Originations, a forum that allowed individual members to contribute original material. From that, Fly was born.

And this is not your father's jazz trio. In Fly's world, the usual modus operandi of endless theme and variation or round-robin riffing has given way to an intimate three-way dialogue. The result is an expansive, illuminating palette of harmonies, tones and expressive counterpoint. (See full article.) - Tom Semioli, Amplifier


The back-to-school season is a good time to remember jazz's greatest pedagogue, pianist and composer Lennie Tristano (1919-78). Last week, Birdland presented a quintet led by saxophonist Charles Krachy, featuring Virg Dzurinko (one of Tristano's younger students) and an alto-tenor frontline performing Tristano-esque contrapuntal variations on standards. This week, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner—virtually the only younger well-known player to reflect the distinct influence of Tristano and Warne Marsh, brings his outstanding trio, Fly, to the Village Vanguard.
The group, which co-stars bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, has also recently released their first CD, Fly (Savoy Jazz ). After years of thinking of Mr. Turner as the most prominent latter-day Tristano-ite, the first thing I noticed is that as he ages (he'll be 39 in November), he steadily absorbs more and more influences. In fact, when I first heard tracks from his new album on WBGO, I assumed they were by one of Joe Lovano's trios. (See full article.) - Will Friedwald, New York Sun


Jazzifying the staccato melody of Jimi Hendrix's acid-tinged come-on "Spanish Magic Castle," and taking a surging run through a tune by bassist Reid Anderson might well summon comparisons to The Bad Plus, but the cooperative trio Fly is far more than quirky rock songs turned inside out. Unlike their piano trio breathen, Fly's sound is stripped down, capturing the live-off-the floor recording approach, and affording a lot of room for Mark Turner's unaccented, unhurried tenor sax playing. And, the Hendrix cover aside, Fly has an aversion to working a groove to death, preferring instead to explore variations and choose compositions with multiple parts.
At the heart of the band's approach is the long-standing relationship between bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. Musical soulmates since their teens in California, they consistently find ways to complement and enhance what the other is playing. This is true whether the tune is a busy Ballard piece built around a Ghanian Rhythm with a big nod to Ed Blackwell ("Child's Play") or a hard-grooving Grenadier original dedicated to soul bass giant Jerry Jemmott ("JJ").

Where many bands would be content creating cool ways of showcasing their influences, Fly takes it a notch higher by reaching beyond the obvious to create works as interesting as "Fly Mr. Freakjar," a true example of collective composition, built on a complex Ballard rhythm, and Grenadier's "Emergence/Resurgence," which shifts gears radically from a dark bass clarinet line to an intense, upbeat middle section.
- James Hale, Downbeat Magazine


A Sax Trio Blasts Off Without the Burn

A Trio Turns Back to Making Jazz, Not Firewood (April 10, 2009)
It’s good to hear this group again. Fly, made up of the saxophonist Mark Turner, the bassist Larry Grenadier and the drummer Jeff Ballard, hasn’t performed much in the last five years; after starting, it never really had time to develop. This would be strange for a group of such promise, except for the fact that the bassist and drummer both play in Brad Mehldau’s trio, a band that works a great deal.

Fly has a new record — “Sky & Country,” on ECM — and is reconvening at Jazz Standard through the weekend. Its calmly imposing show on Thursday night made you think meta-thoughts about saxophone trios: what they can accomplish, why they still sound strange. It’s been more than 50 years since Sonny Rollins made the saxophone trio viable, but after less than a decade, even he largely abandoned the form; since then, no group in particular has stepped in and established a new language for it.

There can be a kind of heroism or martyrdom in saxophone trios, as the saxophonist burns down his stamina to fill the space left by the lack of a chordal instrument. Fly, though, makes cool-headed music.

Saxophone trios in general, even with the horn player gnashing and wailing, can make a lonely sound: all that open land without chords to cultivate it. For Mr. Turner’s sensibility, that’s all right. He creates tension methodically, by playing with even strength in all registers, from the lowest to the highest, often using scalar patterns or a small bebop quotation in a steady medium speed. He’s seldom rushing anywhere. He’s mysteriously dry and fluent, as he plays and improvises on sequential melodies.

Though he spent last winter recovering from an accident involving a power saw and two fingers on his left hand, I couldn’t detect any change in motor skills — or at least I couldn’t sense his ambitions running ahead of his physical ability.

All three members write for the band, and in a real sense they play cooperatively. In Thursday’s early set nobody took unaccompanied solos. In fact, nobody took a traditional kind of solo at all, the kind in which one runs the show, and the others accompany.

Instead, improvised detail and intensity unceremoniously emerged from one musician as the others supported him with repetition, from swing rhythm to a kind of small-scale, indirect funk; none of these sounded like set-piece moments, and the drama dissipated as easily as it appeared.

In Mr. Turner’s “Dharma Days,” Mr. Grenadier played fast, walking eighth-note bass patterns. For a long time Mr. Turner put backspin on the piece by playing careful quarter-note phrases, but giving them slight behind-the-beat delays and uneven shapes. He warmed up gradually into faster playing, but only for a minute or so.

And in Mr. Grenadier’s “CJ,” the closest this band comes to a ballad of recognizable emotions, Mr. Turner switched from tenor saxophone to soprano as if entering a new song; his playing acquired a new order of clarity. - Ben Ratliff, New York Times


A Trio Turns Back to Making Jazz, Not Firewood

Jeff Ballard and Larry Grenadier were in Europe last fall, on tour with the Brad Mehldau Trio, when they got the horrific news. Mark Turner, their partner in the dynamic post-bop band Fly, had sliced through two fingers of his left hand with a power saw while cutting firewood, severing nerves and tendons. Though typically low-key about his injury at the time — “I had an accident,” he wrote his band mates by e-mail — it was uncertain whether Mr. Turner, among the top tenor saxophonists of his generation, would ever be able to play again.

But five months later, after surgery and a rigorous course of physical therapy, Mr. Turner is embarking on a bicoastal tour. Along with Mr. Grenadier, a deeply intuitive bassist, and Mr. Ballard, a flexible and locomotive drummer, he’ll be revisiting material from Fly’s excellent second album, “Sky & Country,” which was released on ECM last week. The tour is beginning with a run at the Jazz Standard that continues through Sunday.

Over the last five years Fly has emerged as one of the most compellingly cohesive small groups in jazz, with a sparse but supple chemistry admired by other musicians. Mr. Mehldau first heard the band in a New York club in 2004, experiencing “a pang of jealousy,” he recalled in an e-mail message, “because they had their own thing and were so confident and strong, and so graceful in their identity.” (Before long Mr. Mehldau overhauled his own trio in Fly’s image, bringing Mr. Ballard aboard.) Diego Barber, a classically trained guitarist from the Canary Islands, tapped all three members to play on his debut, “Calima,” just out on Sunnyside.

The members of Fly, now all in their 40s, have also become figures of considerable influence, and even some awe, among younger musicians. “There’s stuff on YouTube of Mark just practicing,” Mr. Ballard said with a chuckle during a group interview at the Midtown offices of ECM. “Like, ‘Mark Turner warming up.’ Four million hits.” (The clip has actually been viewed about 17,000 times, still impressive for what amounts to an arcane scalar exercise.)

Fly is a collective trio, musically as well as socially: each member contributes tunes, pulls an equal share of weight and helps determine the direction and shape of the music. It’s a familiar model of modern-jazz interplay, but it’s hardly common in practice, especially for the saxophone-bass-drums trio, a format that has evoked top-down hierarchies ever since the tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins adopted it more than 50 years ago.

The group originally formed, Mr. Grenadier said, “because of this ideal of ultimate democracy.”

“They always say jazz is democratic music, and it is, but there are aspects of it that aren’t too,” he said. “So in our desire to form a band apart from all of the side projects we do, part of the idea was, there’s not going to be a leader, and we’re all going to write for it.”

Mr. Grenadier and Mr. Ballard had first played together during high school in Northern California. They both moved to the East Coast in 1990. Mr. Turner, who grew up in Southern California, came into contact with each of them separately in various settings.

“There’s less immediate gratification on the new record,” Mr. Turner said during the interview at ECM. “Not that the other one had a lot of that,” he added wryly, referring to the trio’s self-titled 2004 debut. It was only six weeks after Mr. Turner’s accident; his fingers were in a brace, noticeably swollen.

He noted that the compositions on “Sky & Country” tend to follow an episodic design, with multiple sections and fewer opportunities for solo heroics. The album has a kaleidoscopic feel, ranging from chamberlike intimacy to funk-derived extroversion, but feels more organic than eclectic because of the flexible relationship at its core.

“If you have all these sections,” Mr. Turner said, “it can help bring you in, just because things are changing. So instead of such a linear thing, it has more of a pastoral quality. It’s not so planar.”

No single member of Fly commands more attention than the others, but for now it’s only natural that all eyes are on Mr. Turner, whose accident set off waves of concern throughout the jazz world. Last month he appeared in his second weeklong engagement since surgery, at Birdland with the Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava. And he sounded reassuringly like himself, punctilious and resourceful, even if there was a halting quality to some of his phrases, a flicker of deliberation.

Backstage after the set, he briefly talked shop with the alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, a jazz legend of the same generation as Sonny Rollins. “It’s just so great to see him playing again,” Mr. Konitz said of Mr. Turner. “And, you know, he’s still blowing, man.”

Mr. Turner reported that his condition was improving week by week. “It’ll never be like it was,” he said, stretching his hands. “There are certain things I go for, and it’s not th - Nate Chinen, New York Times


Fly, a jazz trio composed of saxophonist Mark Turner, drummer Jeff Ballard, and bassist Larry Grenadier, performed at the Jazz Standard in New York City to celebrate the release of their second album. Sky and Country (ECM) was made available on March 31st, 2009. The group melds popular styles with jazz improvisation, with compositions in which the responsibilities are spread evenly across the three musicians.
The general mood of the Friday, April 10th performance at the Standard was introverted and ponderous. These are two qualities that are not unexpected coming from a saxophone trio – the absence of a harmonic instrument makes for a wide-open, suspended sound – and especially one that features Mark Turner, whose unfaltering restraint is adopted from the Lennie Tristano school saxophonist Warne Marsh.

Fly compensated for the inevitable removed sense by using the principle of simplicity in their compositions. Simplicity arose throughout the set in the music’s formal structure, melodic material, and rhythmic foundations.

The melody of the set-opener, Turner’s “Elena Berenjena,” is an exploration of an ascending major scale, while Ballard plays a bridled rock beat. In Ballard’s composition, “Perla Morena,” Turner strayed from linear melodic improvisation in favor of fleshing out the harmonic content with arpeggiated chords, briefly taking on the role of a piano or guitar.

Over drum & bass grooves, rock beats, and occasional swing, Turner and Grenadier share the spotlight when presenting the melody. At one point, they traded improvised sections with each other, underscoring their musical equity. In fact, an extended solo by any individual member of Fly is extremely rare. This group rejects the traditional relationship of accompanist to soloist.

The bare-bones nature of Fly’s music is fascinating in its democracy, and is a lesson on sensitive, reactive performance. The musicians strive to weave objects of beauty out of the sparsest elements. However, one can’t help wondering if their sensitivity to each other holds them back from acquiring certain degrees of intensity. - Jacob Teichroew, About.com Guide


Despite a debut that failed to generate much noise, Fly's sophomore effort—its first for ECM—ought to. Dispelling the ECM myth of neglecting American music, this trio—featuring perennially undervalued saxophonist Mark Turner alongside Brad Mehldau Trio mates, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard—finds its own nexus of head and heart. Dave Holland's Triplicate (ECM, 1988) might be a precedent, but that was a harder swinging effort more closely linked to the American tradition. Fly swings in its own way, but is equally disposed towards integrating elements farther afield, all with a spare, less-is-more approach that, despite the trio's unequivocal virtuosity, avoids wasted demonstration merely for the sake of it.
Fly is also a democratic collective, with everyone contributing to the set of nine originals, although Turner dominates with four tunes that take up nearly half of the album's 67-minute running time. The trio revisits the title track from the saxophonist's Dharma Days (Warner Bros., 2001), one of the disc's most fiery and traditionally swinging tracks, but more concisely—a characteristic that defines the entire disc. While some tracks extend well into the 10-minute range, there's a noticeable lack of grandstanding; instead, it's about giving each piece the time to breathe and expand. Turner's episodic "Ananda Nanda" opens with a tenor solo that reaches so seamlessly and cleanly into the upper register that it's sometimes hard to believe it's not a soprano, which Turner employs on Ballard's lightly funky title track—propelled by the drummer's fluid interaction with Grenadier, as Turner shoots for the occasional rough-edge on a solo that's as focused and lyrical as it gets.

Light it may be, but Turner's "Elena Berenjena" possesses a light backbeat, while Grenadier's balladic "CJ" begins with a harmonic-driven bass solo that, when the group comes in, is played so gently that it rivals label-mate Tord Gustavsen's often whisper-like approach. Ballard, in particular, seems to be almost breathing on his drums, his brushwork so delicate that it's more often more felt than heard. Ballard's "Perla Morena" is reminiscent of some of the label's mid-'70s output, at once propulsive and dynamic but, with Turner's cued lines, open-ended and expressive. Ballard demonstrates his capacity for greater fire only occasionally, largely playing with remarkable restraint and complete attention to the nuances that this trio is capable of when serving the music, rather than having the music serve it.

Grenadier's "Transfigured" begins with a gentle arco in tandem with Turner's soprano, underscored by Ballard's gentle but turbulent underpinning before breaking into a more rhythm-centric solo section where Turner's debt to Wayne Shorter is in sharp focus even as his own voice remains clear and unmistakable.

Despite knee-jerk attempts to compare Fly to Sonny Rollins's trio work or, more recently, that of friend and occasional collaborator Joshua Redman—Fly carves its own niche. Delicate as a feather yet never lacking in substantive weight, Sky & Country is an album that will alter the perception of what saxophone trios can be. - John Kelman, All About Jazz


The trio Fly has been described as "two thirds of the Brad Mehldau Trio and a saxophonist." Not to diminish reed man Mark Turner—who is the other third of group—but as an acknowledgment of his band mates' higher profiles. And if the higher profiles of the other two thirds—bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard—pulls in a higher percentage of attention for Fly, all the better.
Sky and Country is the group's second offering, and it's debut on ECM Records. The Germany-based label has a reputation for showcasing European artists with restrained, refined and somewhat abstract approaches, like Bobo Stenson and Tord Gustavsen. But that's a pigeon-holing that doesn't define or do justice to a label that also represents the often unrestrained Keith Jarrett Standards trio and decidedly unfettered Trio Beyond.

And with Fly the "European" tag can be thrown out the door. Ballard, Grenadier and Turner are California guys—the drummer and bassist born and bred, and the saxophonist having moved to the Golden State when he was four years old. All are New York-based these days.

The sax/drums/bass setting, without a guitar or piano, makes for a looser ensemble feel with a fluidity of spontaneity that opens improvisational doors. The music on Sky and Country flows freely, smooth and cool, with Turner's vibrato-less reed work blowing democratically in the ensemble. Indeed, a characteristic of the sound is its resistance to a breakdown—for description's sake—of the individual voices. Fly is not a working band by any stretch of the imagination, but what a breathing, organic music it makes as the trio remains in a laid-back, homeostatic equilibrium.

The tunes—four by Turner, three by Ballard and two from Grenadier's pen—have a searching feeling, a one foot in front of the other quest for musical nirvana, a beautiful and accessible sound with a spiritual tint. - Dan McClenaghan


Saxophonist Mark Turner and bassist Larry Grenadier recently appeared on Italian trumpet great Enrico Rava's New York Days (see our review here) and are two of the young lions on the NYC jazz scene. The two have been playing as a trio with drummer Jeff Ballard as Fly for several years. Sky and Country is their second recording and first for ECM.
Piano/guitar-less trios are risky, but as with Donny McCaslin's recent Recommended Tools, the strength of the musicianship here overcomes the lack of a chordal instrument to center things. Grenadier and Ballard have been playing together since their teens and there is trust and connection between them that allows them to create a delicious musical tapestry. Ballard, no mere colorist, but an equal participant, combines world music influences with Joe Morello cool, while Grenadier - who is becoming the bassist of choice for many artists these days - suggests a Dave Holland-esque feel in his playing (certainly not a bad choice for emulation). Meanwhile, the much-lauded Turner plays it cool as well, in almost direct opposition to the shredding style of McCaslin or Chris Potter. Not that he doesn't shred at times, but there is a certain relaxed smooth sweetness and lightness inherent in his sound on both tenor and soprano.

The equality in the sound, in which all three members intertwine, spreads to the songwriting, where all three contribute songs. Ballard's "Lady B" starts things off nicely, displaying the compelling balance of freedom and structure (sky and country) that exists in the trios' content. Turner burns like dry ice, Grenadier churns and Ballard is at his propulsive best. But it is the haunting title track that follows that really grabs the listener, as it initially moves Fly closer to the ECM sound with a spacious soundscape opening that morphs into an almost Miles 70-ish vamp. Turner's soprano floats gently over the undulating and intriguing rhythms. Later in the program, the drummer's "Perla Morena" swings so hard at times it almost rocks and is a hidden gem you won't want to miss.

Turner adds some great compositions, such as the catchy "Elena Berenjena," a new version of his "Dharma Days" and two lengthy pieces ("Ananada Nanda" and the powerful "Super Sister" which ends the recording), while Grenadier brings the ballad "CJ" and the spiritual-flavored "Transfigured" (complete with arco bass). Sky and Country is a fine release featuring three exceptional musicians who have played together and have a nice musical relationship going. It is also nice to see ECM looking stateside a bit more on their recent releases.
- Brad Walseth, jazzchicago.net


Brad Mehldau drummer Jeff Ballard (whose Mehldau bass partner Larry Grenadier joins him in the Fly trio with subtle alto saxophonist Mark Turner here) calls Fly "an intimate band with teeth", and it's a good description. Ballard isn't usually called on to play such a contemporary mix of stretched jazz time, and funk and hip-hop grooves in Mehldau's laid-back world - and it's also surprising in Turner's, who has strong affinities with the oblique and slow-burning methods of Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh and the 1950s Cool School. But somehow, this close-listening trio manage to join Turner's long lines and airy speculations to Grenadier's busy countermelodies and Ballard's rattling polyrhythms without sounding like a forced marriage. The clipped and edgy melodies of hip-hop and rap-influenced jazz are woven into the lyrical forms of an earlier era, so themes resembling Steve Coleman or Dave Holland tracks have a deceptive gentleness that camouflages their roots. Tunes keep changing character, too, so a classical-sounding soprano part in which the sax suggests an oboe turns into crackling funk and then loose swing, or the languid alto melody of Dharma Days turns into a supercharged improvisation, or a folksy, theme becomes a funky strut, and then a dreamy drift over hip-hop. It's clever, expert, 100% engaged, and very musical. - John Fordham, The Guardian


Discography

Fly, Sky & Country (2009)/ECM
Fly, Fly (2004)/Savoy Jazz

Management: Mariah Wilkins Artist Managment LLC
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Bio

Sky & Country is the ECM debut of the highly-regarded collective trio that drummer Jeff Ballard has memorably described as “an intimate band with teeth”. It’s a group that overturns expectations of its specific instrumentation. Modern jazz history is not short on highly charged sax/bass/drums trios, including those of Sonny Rollins, Albert Ayler and Sam Rivers, but Fly is differently cast. Equal rights for all instruments is one goal. The saxophone seeks parity with bass and drums, and its refusal to fill all the space with sound brings another set of tensions into play. As writer Nate Chinen observed in a JazzTimes article, “This is music that that expands and contracts, effortlessly and dramatically and that balances the cerebral components of group improvisation with the more gut-level element of groove.” Or as Brad Meldau, who works regularly with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard in his own trio has said: “Fly brings together elements in their playing that are often at odds with each other: On the one hand their music can be intellectually challenging - their compositions in particular can be rhythmically and harmonically dense. In spite of that, their music makes a strong emotional impact, felt through the deep rhythmic groove, and the organic way that these three musicians tell a story together.”

The group first surfaced as the Jeff Ballard Trio in 2000 on one track of the anthology Originations, curated by Chick Corea (Ballard was Chick’s drummer at the time) and became Fly with the release of their first album, on Savoy, in 2004. Association between the players however goes back much further. Grenadier and Ballard played music together as teenagers in California in the early 1980s and subsequently gigged together often. They both migrated to the US’s East coast in 1990 where they met Turner, and the three musicians have played in diverse permutations and contexts since then.

In Fly, Turner, Grenadier and Ballard all write material. Mark Turner: “Sometimes it’s the saxophone carrying the melody. Other times it’s the bass or drums. We spread out the frontline duties among us.” Sky & Country features three Ballard tunes, four by Turner, and two by Grenadier.

Mark Turner was born in Fairborn, Ohio in 1965, and moved with his family to California when he was four. He started playing clarinet at nine then later switched to alto, then tenor as a teenager. He studied art at Long Beach State and California College of Arts and Crafts, transferring to Berklee College of Music, and graduating in 1990. Since moving to New York he has worked and recorded with musicians including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dave Holland, Paul Motian, Brad Mehldau, John Pattitucci, Dave Douglas, Billy Hart, Lee Konitz and James Moody. Turner is on dozens of recordings as a sideman as well as five of his own recordings (Yam Yam on Criss Cross, Mark Turner, In This World, Ballad Session and Dharma Days on Warner Brothers). Both Turner and Larry Grenadier appeared on Enrico Rava’s New York Days album on ECM.

Turner’s elegant, abstract and thoughtful playing has been much remarked on by his contemporaries. Brad Meldau has noted that Mark “doesn’t court the theatrics associated with his instrument... (He is) playing with a direct candor usually reserved for older players.” And the older players, too, have been taking note. Lee Konitz (in the book Conversations on the Improviser’s Art): “I think Mark is a very serious contender. He’s really mastered the altissimo register of his instrument. That’s quite rare among tenor players...He’s really playing lines up there as Warne Marsh could do - and Mark uses that register much more than Warne did.”

Larry Grenadier was born in San Francisco in 1966. He began playing bass when he was 11, and as a teenager worked in the Bay area with Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Bobby Hutcherson among many others. He graduated from Stanford University in 1989 with a degree in English Literature. After playing with Gary Burton's band in 1990, he moved to New York City and played in the groups of Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, Danilo Perez, Tom Harrell, Joe Henderson, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Paul Motian, Charles Lloyd and Brad Mehldau and recorded dozens of albums. Previous ECM credits include the above-mentioned Rava disc and three albums with Charles Lloyd: The Water Is Wide, Hyperion With Higgins and Lift Every Voice. Enrico Rava recently described Larry’s playing as “present and focused in every moment”, and this is true too of the quite different demands of Fly where bass and sax frequently move in complementary orbits, developing ideas independently and interdependently.

Drummer/percussionist Jeff Ballard was born in Southern California in 1963 and grew up in Santa Cruz, where he began playing drums at age 14. He toured with Ray Charles from 1988 through 1990. Jeff moved to New York in 1990, and since then has played and/or recorded with Lou Donaldson, Chick Corea, Buddy Montg