Mark Turner (musician)

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Mark Turner
Turner in 2010
Turner in 2010
Background information
Born (1965-11-10) November 10, 1965 (age 57)
Fairborn, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1990s–present
LabelsWarner Bros., ECM
Mark Turner (2017)

Mark Turner (born November 10, 1965) is an American jazz saxophonist.


Born in Fairborn, Ohio, and raised in the small Southern California town of Palos Verdes Estates, Turner originally intended to become a commercial artist. In elementary school he played the clarinet, followed by the alto and tenor saxophones in high school. He attended California State University, Long Beach in the 1980s (playing in the jazz ensembles) and then transferred to and graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1990 before moving to New York. Turner worked at Tower Records in New York City for an extended period before working full-time as a jazz musician.[1]

In early November 2008 Turner injured two fingers on one of his hands with a power saw, but as of late February 2009 he was performing again with the Edward Simon Quartet at the Village Vanguard.

He is married to the psychiatrist and anthropologist, Dr. Helena Hansen.[2]

Style and influences[edit]

Turner's sound is reminiscent of that of Warne Marsh, but he also has elements of John Coltrane in his playing. Turner has mentioned both Marsh and Coltrane as influences, and has used elements of both players' styles in his music.[3] Turner's range extends into the high altissimo register. His improvised lines tend to span several octaves and contain great harmonic and rhythmic complexity. His compositions often make use of repeated patterns, odd-metered time signatures, and intervallic leaps.

Turner claims that his music is "unfolding like a narrative". Consequently, his 2014 album Lathe of Heaven is named after Ursula K. Le Guin's novel of the same title which is based on the idea of a world where the nature of reality keeps shifting.[4]

Musical associations[edit]

In September 2014, Turner released his first album as a leader since 2001 on ECM Records;[5] it features trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Marcus Gilmore.[6] Turner is a member of the trio Fly, which includes himself, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Jeff Ballard.[7] He also appears in guitarist Gilad Hekselman's Quartet, and drummer Billy Hart's Quartet.[8] Turner has recorded extensively with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, saxophonist David Binney, and pianist Aaron Goldberg, among others.[9] Turner, the ultimate jazz sideman, has played or collaborated with more than 45 jazz bands. In 2018 and 2019 alone he has played on eight different jazz albums as a sideman or collaborator. (See Sideman and Collaborators below.)


As leader/co-leader[edit]

As group[edit]

Fly with Jeff Ballard and Larry Grenadier

SFJAZZ Collective

  • Wonder (SFJAZZ, 2012)

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Mark Turner Biography". All Music. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  2. ^ Leonard, Devin (June 26, 2009). "Mark Turner Escapes the Shadow of John Coltrane". New York Observer. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Jazz Weekly magazine interview by Fred Jung". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  4. ^ "In Mark Turner's New Album, The Music Unfolds Like A Narrative". National Public Radio. September 4, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Whitehead, Kevin. "In Tenor Saxophonist Mark Turner's New Album, The Music Unfolds Like A Narrative". NPR. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Chinen, Nate. "Follow the Leader; He's Deep in the Pack Mark Turner Quartet at the Village Vanguard". New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  7. ^ Collar, Matt. "Fly". All Music. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  8. ^ Jurek, Thom. "All Our Reasons". All Music. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  9. ^ Huey, Steve. "Mark Turner". All Music. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
  10. ^ "Yam Yam". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  11. ^ [1] Archived November 24, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Two Tenor Ballads". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  13. ^ "In Tenor Saxophonist Mark Turner's New Album, The Music Unfolds Like A Narrative". NPR. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  14. ^ "Lee Konitz super audio CD SACD Parallels USA SACD240 CHESKY Audiophile 2002". ebay. Archived from the original on April 30, 2015.
  15. ^ Lyles, R. Mark Turner Discography, accessed May 7, 2019


  • In This World @
  • Dharma Days @
  • Ballad Session @
  • G. Giddins: “Turner Classic Moves,” VV (April 14, 1998), 118
  • G. M. Stern: “Airtime: Mark Turner: You Don’t Have to be Twenty Years Old to Succeed,” Windplayer, no.58 (1998), 10
  • "Saxophonist Mark Turner's Stylistic Assimilation of Warne Marsh and the Tristano School," Master's Thesis by Jimmy Emerzian, California State University, Long Beach, 2008.

External links[edit]