A legend of the tenor saxophone, Stanley Turrentine was renowned for his distinctively thick, rippling tone, an earthy grounding in the blues, and his ability to work a groove with soul and imagination. Turrentine recorded in a wide variety of settings, but was best-known for his Blue Note soul-jazz jams of the '60s, and also underwent a popular fusion makeover in the early '70s. Born in Pittsburgh on April 5, 1934, Turrentine began his career playing with various blues and R&B bands, with a strong influence from Illinois Jacquet. He played in Lowell Fulson's band with Ray Charles from 1950-1951, and in 1953, he replaced John Coltrane in Earl Bostic's early R&B/jazz band. After a mid-'50s stint in the military, Turrentine joined Max Roach's band and subsequently met organist Shirley Scott, whom he married in 1960 and would record with frequently.
Upon moving to Philadelphia, Turrentine struck up a chemistry with another organist, Jimmy Smith, appearing on Smith's 1960 classics Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special, among others. Also in 1960, Turrentine began recording as a leader for Blue Note, concentrating chiefly on small-group soul-jazz on classics like That's Where It's At, but also working with the Three Sounds (on 1961's Blue Hour) and experimenting with larger ensemble settings in the mid-'60s. As the '70s dawned, Turrentine and Scott divorced and Turrentine became a popular linchpin of Creed Taylor's new, fusion-oriented CTI label; he recorded five albums, highlighted by Sugar, Salt Song, and Don't Mess With Mister T. While those commercially accessible efforts were artistically rewarding as well, critical opinion wasn't as kind to his late-'70s work for Fantasy; still, Turrentine continued to record prolifically, and returned to his trademark soul-jazz in the '80s and '90s. Turrentine passed away on September 12, 2000, following a massive stroke. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
Stanley Turrentine interview for www.jazz-radio.fm Online jazz radio
Stanley Turrentine - In Concert (1990)
Stanley Turrentine's 'Don t Mess with Mister T' rose to #2 on the 1975 Billboard jazz chart and was another artistic triumph for the sax legend in his year with CTI Records. What first leaps out and grabs the listener's attention is Turrentine's sweet yet muscular sound, which suggests Johnny Hodges more than the classic Swing tenors. Turrentine'sflexible voice can deepen to a resonant honk, soar into one of the most piercingly full-throated cries in jazz, and broaden to a thick, sensuous vibrato on ballads. He tends to play on top of the beat, making for a deep, trancelike groove, and his phrasing draws on both modern jazz and R&B. Angular lines alternate with timeless blues phraseology.
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AllMusic.com hails Stanley Turrentine's Salt Song with arrangements by the Grammy-winning Eumir Deodato as "another fine, eclectic outing that falls squarely into the signature CTI fusion sound: smooth but not slick, accessible but not simplistic... All in all, Salt Song has dated well, partly because the arrangements don't overemphasize electric piano, but mostly on the strength of Turrentine's always-soulful playing."
I've liked Stanley Turrentine's work for years. With him, my attraction is the SOUND - uniquely his: big, bright, yet warm, with roots in soul and blues as well as mainstream jazz. His playing on this CD lives up to his usual high standard.
Stanley Turrentine's 'Don't Mess with Mister T' rose to #2 on the 1975 Billboard jazz chart and was another artistic triumph for the sax legend in his year with CTI Records. What first leaps out and grabs the listener's attention is Turrentine's sweet yet muscular sound, which suggests Johnny Hodges more than the classic Swing tenors. Turrentine's flexible voice can deepen to a resonant honk, soar into one of the most piercingly full-throated cries in jazz, and broaden to a thick, sensuous vibrato on ballads. He tends to play on top of the beat, making for a deep, trancelike groove, and his phrasing draws on both modern jazz and R&B. Angular lines alternate with timeless blues phraseology.
It's a strange sensation to find that a slew of classic CTI albums have been remastered and reissued ahead of getting an American re-release. So the initial question has to be "is it worth the extra money to buy this import?" The answer has to be a resounding YES!, as the album was worth its price in its original form, but the three previously unreleased tracks make it an essential purchase. Firstly, it's aged very well, partly because unlike some 70's albums which feature electric piano, in the hands of Bob James (Tracks 1,3,4,6,8) and Harold Mabern (Tracks 2,3,5) the playing is well handled, and where it meshes with Richard Tee's organ the sound is superb. Eric Gale provides nice guitar fills as he sits well back with Ron Carter and drummers Idris Muhammed and Billy Cobham. Turrentine provides a sinewy Tenor Sax across the whole range of material. Favorites are both versions of Marvin Gaye's title track "Two for T" written by Turrentine, and Bob James' "Harlem Dawn." Although this is arguably more commercial that "Sugar," it has a fantastic sound, a brilliant slow burn of smooth relaxing listening.
Sugar is a bluesy soul-jazz classic, represented here, on this remastered edition, in both studio and live versions. Butch Cornell's "Sunshine Alley" is solid, and John Coltrane's "Impressions" is given an impressive soul-jazz treatment. ("Gibraltar" was cut from the original track list, but it can be found on another CTI release, "Salt Song".) There's a lot of great jamming here, featuring Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, and George Benson as primary soloists. Rudy Van Gelder ably imparted the trademark CTI studio sheen on this recording without compromising the essential grit of the performances.
Stanley Turrentine - Sax (Tenor)
George Benson - Guitar
Ron Carter - Bass
Lonnie Liston Smith - Piano (Electric)
Butch Cornell - Organ, Organ (Hammond)
Freddie Hubbard - Trumpet, Tympani [Timpani]
Billy Kaye - Drums
Richard Landrum - Conga
Rudy Van Gelder - Engineer
Stanley Turrentine was one of the most prolific jazz artists of our time but received very little attention to his works. If he were still with us, he would be playing the finest halls across America. On this CD he teams up with his peers in none other than Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, Lonnie Liston Smith Jr., Ron Carter, and other masterful musicians. Thanks to the wonderful production from Creed Taylor who had the foresight to bring all of these talents together, we have what is an example of brilliant jazz.
There are only four songs on this cd. The first is the title song which is over 10 minutes long. The second song "Sunshine Alley" is also over 10 minutes long. The third song "Impressions" was the last song on the original LP and is over 14 minutes. The "piece de resistance" on this cd is the bonus cut: a live version of "Sugar" that cooks and adds Hubert Laws on the flute. It is also over 14 minutes.
I'm not certain how ANYONE could compare this music to smooth jazz. These musicians know jazz through and through and prove it on this album! While recorded under Stanley Turrentine's name, there are many solo spots from the other artists throughout each number. It is akin to sitting in a jazz club and indulging in the most delicious treat. This is a jazz buffet for the ears!