Focusing strictly on trombone, Steve Turre calls upon tenor saxophonists James Carter, Dewey Redman and David Sanchez for his second Telarc release, TNT (Trombone-N-Tenor).
The recording is Turre's first quintet project and also the first time he has set aside the shells entirely. For TNT, Turre dedicates himself to exploring the various vibrational permutations of the trombone. Along with old friends Carter, Redman and Sanchez, Turre is framed by two A-list rhythm sections: Mulgrew Miller, piano; Buster Williams, bass; and Victor Lewis, drums; and Stephen Scott, piano; Peter Washington, bass; Lewis Nash, drums; and Giovanni Hidalgo, congas, timbales and campana.
"I like to approach music by relating in the moment to what everybody is doing collectively," says Turre of the recording's process. "If the spirit takes us to the point where everybody is hollering, well, then, it's time to holler! I believe that the real magic and strength in this music comes from the collective consciousness more than any individual person."
The eight performances on TNT comprise a tribute to a select group of elders who inspired Turre at various points in his career. "I've always sought out the elders," says Turre. "I realized early on that the elders have the key to the lineage, the key to the phrasing, the key to the language. This music is not just learning the notes. It's not just emulating some records."
The compositions on TNT include Stanley Turrentine's "Back in the Day," Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," and a Turre tribute to Eric Dolphy titled "Eric the Great." Turre also contributes "E.J.," a tune in the style of Elvin Jones, "Puente of Soul," and "Dewey's Dance."
On "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," Turre presents another first for the trombonist. He sets aside his Ellington-style mute playing and tips his hat to Al Grey with a mighty open-horn plunger oration in the Basie dialect.
Turre was born to Mexican-American parents in 1948 and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. His career first picked up momentum when Ray Charles hired the young trombonist to go on tour. A year later, his mentor, Woody Shaw, brought him into Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Turre went on to work with a diverse list of musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, J.J. Johnson, Herbie Hancock, Lester Bowie, Tito Puente, Max Roach, and many others. After being introduced to the conch shell by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, he later discovered that his Mexican ancestors had played the shells. Turre has also been a member of the Saturday Night Live Band since 1984.