Saturday, August 28, 2010

Steve Turre - Delicious and Delightful (High Note, 2010)

Trombonist Steve Turre (doubling on conch shells) has had a lengthy and busy career playing with many greats including Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Woody Shaw and Ray Charles in addition to a busy schedule as a leader. The music on this album has a solid hard bop feel, reminiscent of the swinging and soulful work of Horace Silver and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Joining Turre are Billy Harper on tenor saxophone, Larry Willis on piano, Corcoran Holt on bass, Pedro Martinez on percussion, Dion Parson, drums and Russell Malone sitting in on guitar for a few tracks. Billy Harper is one of my favorite musicians, his deep and strong tone on tenor saxophone is a force of nature. I think if there is any complaint that I have about the album it is that he doesn't get quite enough solo space. But it is not his album, and he takes to the supporting role very well, adding excellent solos and ensemble playing to the mix. He solos particularly well on "Blackfoot" adding the modal energy that brings great excitement to the music. The group tackles a couple of funky tracks like the Ray Charles tribute "Ray's Collard Greens" and "Dance of the Gazelles" which benefits from extra percussion helping to push the groove along. Turre plays quite well throughout, taking well measured and patient solos on the Ellington tribute "Duke Rays" and using his conch shells to add an interesting and exotic flavor to the opening track, "Light Within." Fans of soulful mainstream hard bop will probably find a lot to enjoy here, the music is well played and always swings. It may not be the most adventurous music on the scene right now, but in consolidating elements of swing, hard bop and soul it is a modestly successful recording. Delicious & Delightful -

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