The initial musical connection between saxophonist Mark Turner and pianist Ethan Iverson was made in 1990s jam sessions in New York City, with both going on to individual success — Iverson in the hit trio The Bad Plus and Turner as a solo leader and in such groups as the trio Fly (recording in both capacities for ECM). A decade after their first meeting, the saxophonist and pianist began an association in the Billy Hart Quartet, the two players featuring sympathetically on two widely lauded ECM albums by that band.
Now with Temporary Kings, their debut on record as a duo, Turner and Iverson explore aesthetic common ground that encompasses the cool-toned intricacies of the Lennie Tristano/Warne Marsh school, as well as the heightened intimacy of modernist chamber music. The album presents six originals by Iverson (such as the nostalgic solo tune "Yesterdays Bouquet") and two by Turner (including "Myrons World," which has acquired near-classic status among contemporary jazz players). Theres an off-kilter blues ("Unclaimed Freight") and a strikingly melodic, almost Ravelian opening track dedicated to the Swiss town where the album was recorded ("Lugano"), plus an interpretation of Marsh's playfully serpentine "Dixies Dilemma."