Stanley Turrentine - Jubilee Shout

Stanley Turrentine Jubilee Shout!!! (Blue Note 1962/86)

Don’t let the marketing gimmick of exclamation marks scare you off. Stanley Turrentine’s Jubilee Shout!!! delivers. It’s a lively, down-home session. Sonny Clark’s aboard. Yet, it was shelved and wasn’t released until 1986.

Stanley Turrentine - Jubilee Shout

Personnel

Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Tommy Turrentine (trumpet), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Sonny Clark (piano), Butch Warren (bass), Al Harewood (drums)

Recorded

on October 18, 1962 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Released

as BST 84112 in 1986

Track listing

Side A:
Jubilee Shout
My Ship
You Said It
Side B:
Brother Tom
Cotton Walk
You Better Go Now (Little Girl Blue)


Stanley Turrentine. Mr. T. Fleshy, friendly face. A man you love to love. A Flophouse favorite. Adored by lovers of classic, smoky modern jazz. He’s got that thang. In 1962, the tenor saxophonist had hit his stride on the Blue Note label. Turrentine’s cooperation with pianist Les McCann, That’s Where It’s At, had been the last in a series of five albums that started in 1960 with Blue Hour, Turrentine’s association with The Three Sounds. His accessible, smart albums were good sellers.

Big, slightly breathy and warm-blooded, Turrentine’s tone renders a night out into town totally unnecessary. Save some money for a new vacuum cleaner. Stanley is party enough, blurs your head in drifting shreds of smoke, teleports the scent of soul food, the chatter of nocturnal Harlem nights right to the heart of your residence. Or flexible workspace. Or Club Med bungalow. He brings the blues. Not a hoarse kind, but stylized through the use of rich, resonant lines that are built from notes ending with a trademark, ever-so-slight vibrato and snappy bent note. Simultaneously, Turrentine displays modern jazz sensibility, but eschews excessive frills. A professor of tension and release.

Bonus: Sonny Clark! The maestro, three months short of his unfortunate passing, recorded erratically in 1962. But the dates he did were still top-notch: Jackie McLean’s Tippin’ The Scales, Grant Green’s posthumous Nigeria, Oleo and Born To Be Blue, and Dexter Gordon’s iconic A Swingin’ Affair. A couple of blues-drenched affairs: Don Wilkerson’s Preach Brother!, (just one exclamation mark!) Ike Quebec’s posthumous Easy Living. That’s it. Excluding Turrentine’s Jubilee Shout. Clark thinks out of the box, presenting hip blues voicings and eccentric asides in clusters of long, flowing lines that may not exactly stretch the boundaries of bars as frequently as in his heyday, but nevertheless comprise ample proof of a mind that still overflowed with ideas.

A bunch of top-rate guys to say the least, Stanley and Tommy Turrentine, Sonny Clark and Kenny Burrell have a lot of room to stretch out in a slow blues (Cotton Walk), uptempo cooker with a nifty line and stop-time rhythm (You Said It), lilting swingers (Brother Tom, My Ship) and a ballad (Little Girl Blue – wrongly credited on the vinyl release as You Better Go Now). The blast of the album is Jubilee Shout. A rousing gospel rhythm with pounding piano chords on the one and two sets the pace and is repeated between the 4/4 sections, which create room for the solo time of, subsequently, Stanley Turrentine, Tommy Turrentine, Sonny Clark and Kenny Burrell. It’s the musical equivalent of the archetypical lyric, ‘Sometimes I sing the blues, but I know I should be praying.’ Either way is right by me.

Why didn’t Blue Note release Jubilee Shout at the time? It’s a crackerjack session. Well, that was up to Alfred. The indomitable Lion also shelved, for instance, Lou Donaldson’s Lush Life, Lee Morgan’s Tom Cat, Wayne Shorter’s The Soothsayer and Grant Green’s Solid, which proved to be one of the guitarist’s crown achievements upon its release in 1979. However, Lion had many sessions to choose from in these instances and generally didn’t release more than three albums per artist per year. Market overflow wasn’t an obstacle in Turrentine’s case. That’s Where It’s At was the only album in 1962 to date. Maybe the title track and Cotton Walk were deemed too long. At any rate, the album was first released on a two-fer in 1978 and finally came out in 1986 with the originally intented cover art and catalogue number. CD release followed in 1988. It has also been included in the much-discussed, appreciated vinyl reissue series of Music Matters. The album was destined to bob up from the wealthy lake of Turrentine’s catalogue.

Horace Parlan Quintet - Speakin' My Piece

Horace Parlan Quintet Speakin’ My Piece (Blue Note 1961)

Horace Parlan is a very interesting pianist, not only because of his peculiar playing style that is due to his handicapped right hand. He’s an essential hard bop player and made a lot of recordings in the post bop-style. But the borders weren’t strict, Parlan puts a lot of blues in post bop and a big dose of adventurous lines in his bluesy output.

Horace Parlan Quintet - Speakin' My Piece

Personnel

Horace Parlan (piano), Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Tommy Turrentine (trumpet), George Tucker (bass), Al Harewood (drums)

Recorded

on July 14, 1961 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Released

as BLP 4043 in 1961

Track listing

Side A:
Wadin’
Up In Cynthia’s Room
Borderline
Side B:
Rastus
Oh So Blue
Speakin’ My Piece


Take Up In Cynthia’s Room from Parlan’s second album as a leader on Blue Note, Speakin’ My Piece. It’s a medium-tempo swinger with graceful blues licks and blue notes, elegant, like the whole album, but many choruses are embellished with idiosynchratic entrances and percussively stamped-out glissandos as well. Parlan also doesn’t shy away from suddenly going up an octave. Pleasant elements of surprise.

Horace Parlan was stricken with polio as a baby, which resulted in the partial crippling of his right hand. The playing style of the Pittsburgh-born pianist – poignant left hand lines and voicings and sparse, rhythmic right-hand comping- attracted the attention of visiting jazz pros in the early fifties. From 1952 to 1957, Parlan played with Sonny Stitt. Thereafter, Charles Mingus invited him to work in his Jazz Workshop. Parlan’s singular style is a great asset of the classic Mingus albums Mingus Ah Um and Blues & Roots.

In 1972, Parlan moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. Parlan became a fixture of the Danish scene (and its major jazz club, Club Montmartre), which already was graced with the presence of other American expatriates as Dexter Gordon, Kenny Drew, Ben Webster and Archie Shepp. With Shepp, Parlan recorded the influential, gospel-drenched Goin’ Home in 1974, the recording of which, alledgedly, brought tears to the duo’s eyes during each tune. Throughout the seventies and the early eighties, Parlan recorded prolifically on the Danish label Steeplechase.

Nowadays, Parlan still lives in the small village of Rude near Copenhagen. The 86-year old retired and blind pianist, who has been living in a nursery home for some time now, talked to BBC World Service in 2015. I wrote about that touching portrait just a while ago.

Speakin’ My Piece is part of a series of consistent, top-rate albums that Parlan made with his regular trio for Blue Note in the early sixties. The trio, including bassist George Tucker and drummer Al Harewood, came to be known as Us Three, a classic rhythm unit of the Blue Note roster with an unusually unified sense of purpose. The line-up’s first album for Blue Note was named Us Three (1960). Parlan is the last man standing, as George Tucker died from cerebral hemorrhage in 1965 (allegedly while performing with Kenny Burrell) and Al Harewood passed away in 2014. As you may well know, the jazz dance outfit US3 used the catchy name and hit big with 1993’s Hand On The Torch, sampling several classic Blue Note recordings in the process.

But why bother with forgettable hybrids when the real deal is available?

Stanley Turrentine - Sugar

Stanley Turrentine Sugar (CTI 1971)

Sugar, Stanley Turrentine’s first release on CTI, catapulted the tenorist into jazz stardom. It sold extremely well, in spite of its lenghty trio of tunes. A big part of the album’s mass appeal must be attributed to producer Creed Taylor. Taylor, also responsible for the big break of Jimmy Smith on Verve in the mid-sixties and George Benson on CTI in the early seventies, embedded Turrentine’s down-home hard bop style in streamlined jazz funk terrain. The result is a mixed bag.

Stanley Turrentine - Sugar

Personnel

Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), George Benson (guitar), Ron Carter (bass), Lonnie Liston Smith (electric piano A1)), Butch Cornell (organ A2, B1), Billy Kaye (drums)

Recorded

on November 20, 1970 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Released

as CTI 6005 in 1971

Track listing

Side A:
Sugar
Sunshine Alley
Side B:
Impressions


Almost inevitably Taylor’s marketing strategies have as a consequence that something is lost. In this case, Turrentine’s smoky, blues-drenched sound and style; vintage Turrentine that is to be found on his many releases from the sixties, solo and with his wife, organist Shirley Scott on Blue Note and Prestige, and as a sideman with, among others, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell and Max Roach.

On the whole, the all-star cast as well as newcomers Butch Cornell and Lonnie Liston Smith turn in top-notch performances and the mood is joyful and relaxed. The title track is a mellow groove. And even if Turrentine’s sound, in comparison to his ‘breathy’ sound of the sixties, is the musical equivalent of a silken scarf, his flowing, imaginative statements are proof of what a class act Turrentine is.

Latin tune Sunshine Alley, written by organist Butch Cornell, has an equally relaxed vibe. George Benson adds fiery, r&b-tinged licks to the flashy and pyrotechnical pallette of phrases that the guitarist demonstrated up until then. It’s a welcome change of mood. Hubbard’s solo starts with a climactic bunch of phrases, which obstructs a reasonable build-up. Turrentine seems contaminated and sounds a bit over-excited too.

The take on John Coltrane’s Impressions includes inventive solo’s by Hubbard and Benson and Turrentine’s lines are carefully crafted. Nonetheless, there is a decisive lack of swing that makes it hard to sit out. A couple of concise tunes on side B instead of the cumbersome version of Impressions would certainly have added to the attraction of Sugar, artistically and arguably also on a commercial level. Wouldn’t it have sold even better with a spicy side B?

Sugar is slick but excellent, not heartless but not really endearing either. It’s a commercial succes but in an artistic sense it’s nowhere near the best Blue Note albums by Stanley Turrentine.

ats_place

Art Taylor A.T.’s Delight (Blue Note 1960)

Just for the fun of it I took a peek in my record collection to find albums drummer Art Taylor played on; a cinch, as Taylor appeared on many quality sessions, mostly for Prestige and Blue Note. I have particularly fond memories of Taylor’s sparse work on John Coltrane’s Trane’s Slo Blues (from Lush Life) and probing, brilliantly produced snare drumming on Dexter Gordon’s hard bop extravaganza Tanya. (from One Flight Up) It shows a drummer that built his distinctive style coming out of the school of Max Roach and Kenny Clarke.

ats_place

Personnel

Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Dave Burns (trumpet A1-3, B2, B3), Wynton Kelly (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), Carlo ‘Potato’ Valdez (conga A2, A3, B2), Art Taylor (drums)

Recorded

on August 6, 1960 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Released

as BST 84047 in 1960

Track listing

Side A:
Syeeda’s Song Flute
Epistrophy
Move
Side B:
High Seas
Cookoo And Fungi
Blue Interlude


Alot of drummers have a tendency to yield to excessive exercise once their name is up in light. Art Taylor’s endeavor as leader for the Blue Note label is far from egomaniacal. Indeed he took the opportunity to engage in a drum solo with conga player Carlos “Potato” Valdez on Taylor’s composition Cookoo And Fungi; however, in the forefront are bebop and hardbop tunes from colleagues Taylor was well acquainted with, pieces that he supports attentitive and faultlessly. Drummer Denzil Best’s Move (an often played composition, immortalized especially by Bud Powell) is particularly exciting; trumpeter Dave Burns (in speedy, playful Clark Terry-mode), Stanley Turrentine and Wynton Kelly deliver suave solo’s in spite of Move’s breakneck tempo.

Coltrane’s Syeeda’s Song Flute is a proper vehicle for Taylor to not only keep time steadfastedly but inventively fill the spaces between its intriguing and innovative changes. Kenny Dorham’s High Seas and Blue Interlude are fine renditions of typically ‘twisty and turny’ hard bop compositions. Blue Note surely was secured of a drummer to be trusted with the keys to the building.

prayer1

Jimmy Smith Prayer Meetin’ (Blue Note 1964)

This is the Jimmy Smith I like the most. Not yet hindered by various concepts initiated by Verve’s Creed Taylor, which thrusted Smith into stardom. Some of those (big band) jobs were top-notch or fantastic, such as the collaborations with Wes Montgomery and Root Down, some of them mediocre, notably those that took Jimmy into singing (grunting) territory. Like Smith’s ‘hazardous-to-your-health faux pas from 1968, Stay Loose. Prayer Meetin’s the real deal: Jimmy Smith in full blues and gospel flight.

prayer1

Personnel

Jimmy Smith (organ), Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax), Quinten Warren (guitar), Donald Bailey (drums)

Recorded

on February 8, 1963 at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs

Released

as BLP 4164 in 1964

Track listing

Side A
Side A:
Prayer Meetin’
I Almost Lost My Mind
Stone Cold Dead In The Market
Side B:
When The Saints Go Marching In
Red Top
Picknickin’


Fact is, Smith’s organ is a voice in itself; he don’t need no larynx. Jimmy Smith, applauded for what not, might best be described as a ‘talkin’ player. Here is a man who conveys uncluttered, basic emotions through B3 and Leslie speaker that sometimes eerily closely resemble the inflections of jazz vocals, albeit often in the tempo of a bop-oriented Speedy Gonzales.

The same thing, I might add, is true for tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, who has a really moving solo in the ballad I Almost Lost My Mind; there is a lot of ‘breath’ in his playing – maybe best described as the whispering of sweet words in someone’s ear – which assuredly gets to you. Surely these qualities make Smith and Turrentine such a good match on Prayer Meetin’, and on other recordings such as Back At The Chicken Shack as well.

Incidentally, during one prolific week prior to the session that resulted in Prayer Meetin’, Smith recorded three more albums. This way Smith fulfilled his Blue Note contract before leaving to Verve. (of course, Jimmy did make a couple of great albums for Verve; collaborations with Wes Montgomery and Root Down are cases in point.)

Jimmy Smith has a way of stimulating solo players. This is illustrated very well in Red Top, wherein Smith uses block chords and staccato, violent lines, creating fire hazard to Turrentine’s already cookin’ solo. Thereafter alarm clock attacks straight from Art Blakey’s book signal the end of the Turrentine line and Jimmy takes his place (and time) telling a story, pushing notes to the limit, utilizing a lot of repetition for further hypnotic effect.

Indeed, as a sermon Prayer Meetin’ is a redeeming exercise.

Stanley Turrentine - Stan The Man

Stanley Turrentine Stan ‘The Man’ Turrentine (Time 1960)

Stanley Turrentine swings impeccably on his 1960 debut as leader Stan ‘The Man’ Turrentine, but his style isn’t as fully formed as on his later albums for Blue Note.

Stanley Turrentine - Stan The Man

Personnel

Stanley Turrentine (tenor saxophone), Tommy Flanagan (piano A1, A3, B2-3), Sonny Clark (piano A2, B1, B4), George Duvivier (bass), Max Roach (drums)

Recorded

in January 1960

Released

as Time 52086 in 1960

Track listing

Side A:
Let’s Groove
Sheri
Stolen Sweets
Side B:
Mild Is The Mood
Minor Mood
Time After Time
My Girl Is Just Enough Woman For Me


High quality sidemen Sonny Clark, Max Roach and George Duvivier recorded Sonny Clark Trio for Time Records in the same year. They bring a natural flow to Turrentine’s session, that also saw the more lighthearted Tommy Flanagan replace Sonny Clark; the latter adds Bud Powellesque twists and turns to Sheri. Stolen Sweets, a pretty Wild Bill Davis shuffle, is a highlight on this album.

This date is also issued by the same label as Let’s groove under leadership of legendary drummer Max Roach. (Picture sleeve addicts will undoubtly prefer this French copy to Stan ‘The Man’ Turrentine.) Exploitative practices of this kind are not uncommon. One wouldn’t expect chief of Time Records, Bob Shad, (best known for the Mainstream label’s polished 300 series) to go for a fast buck. However, it looks ‘shady’, to say the least.