Saxophonist Mark Turner has always been a little noodly and diffident for my taste. But with this trio hes found his element. The bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, with whom Turner has played in various other bands, combine here to provide just the right level of structure and loose groove, giving Turner the terrain that shows him to best advantage. From the great trios of Sonny Rollins and Bill Evans up to today, the three-person unit has always been the place for jazz to explore the push-me-pull-you between players, the elastics of form and freedom. And this group is showing a new modern means of laying in the cut. Given how tightly the Jazz Alley schedule tends to hew toward tried-and-true names, any sign of more adventurous booking is to be celebrated and supported. And while this trio of youngish New York players isnt exactly avant-garde, theyre definitely chasing something more interesting and elusive than another night of songbook standards.
Tue., April 21, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., April 22, 7:30 p.m., 2009