Steve Turre: Spiritman

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Turre: Spiritman
There seems to be two schools among the current generation of jazz trombonists. On the one hand you have those who favor the lush and melodic voices of Frank Rosolino, Lawrence Brown, Carl Fontana, and those of a similar ilk. By contrast are the bop inflected approaches of J.J. Johnson and Curtis Fuller. Turre has gone on record that he doesn't much care for those in his peer group that eschew tone for speed and dexterity. As for Turre himself, it could be argued that he has found a middle ground between the two schools.

As strong a voice as Turre has become in his disparate and varied work as a sideman, his own albums over the years have always seemed to be somewhat of a mixed bag. It is as if he has so many creative impulses at any one time that he has trouble funneling them into a cohesive whole. His first album for Smoke Sessions is no exception. However, it might be his best album in recent times. If there is one caveat, it has to do with the inclusion of some time-worn standards. Do we really need yet another version of "Love Man" or "With a Song in My Heart"? Add to that the fact that Turre's own originals are the meat and potatoes here and one has to wonder how much better the album would have been had numbers from Turre's pen been the sole focus.

The strongest two tracks are no nonsense swingers that find the whole crew in a swinging state of mind. "Bu" is Turre's tribute to drumming icon Art Blakey and it gets its nimble buoyancy via the drumming of modern day great Willie Jones III. "Trayvon's Blues" proves that the traditional 12 bar form still holds the power of inspiration, Turre's conch shells at the end providing that added cherry on the top.

"Funky Thing" is a self-explanatory number that introduces us to the wonderful blend Turre get with alto saxophonist Bruce Williams. At the other end of the rhythmic spectrum, "Nangadef" gets its African tinge through the congas of Chembo Corniel. It all then comes full circle with the closing "Spiritman-All Blues." Turre opens with the clarion call of his conch shells before the familiar ¾ swing of Miles' "All Blues" kicks in at a brisk tempo. As he does throughout, pianist Xavier Davis lends strong support while offering his own crystalline improvisations.

Track Listing

Bu; Lover Man; Funky Thing; Trayvon's Blues; It's Too Late Now; With a Song in My Heart; 'S Wonderful; Peace; Nangadef; Spiritman-All Blues.


Steve Turre: trombone & shells; Bruce Williams: alto and soprano sax; Xavier Davis: piano; Gerald Cannon: bass; Willie Jones: drums; Chembo Corniel: congas.

Album information

Title: Spiritman | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Read Bernstein Reimagined
Bernstein Reimagined
Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
Read Faune
Raphaël Pannier Quartet
Read En Casa Limon
En Casa Limon
David Broza
Read Freedom Fables
Freedom Fables
Nubiyan Twist
Read Auge
Aki Takase / Christian Weber / Michael Griener
Read Son Of Nyx
Son Of Nyx
Tamil Rogeon
Read Solo/Duo
Eli Wallace/Beth McDonald

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.