All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

422

Steve Turre's Sanctified Shells Band

By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Turre
Yoshi's at Jack London Square
Oakland, CA

Neither rain nor sleet nor lines around the block will deter the true jazz junkie from his due deliverance, and so it was last night at Yoshi's. Expecting to see an empty house, I was surprised to enter a bulging room of soggy, but eager patrons. They had braved the elements to hear highly acclaimed Steve Turre's "Sanctified Shells," featuring Coltrane-veteran saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and trumpet virtuoso Jon Faddis. The full band consisted of thirteen pieces: four trombones, two reeds, two trumpets, two percussionists, bass, traps, and piano. The entire horn section had a staggering assortment of "sanctified" conches—ladies-in-waiting by their side.

As has become customary for many popular jazz groups, the musicians were sartorially resplendent —in this case, wearing dashikis —with the signature-pony-tail-chin-beard-wire-rim-specs-Turre leading the charge, outfitted in gold-hued-Kente- cloth-bordered-white and matching lizard skin shoes. His signal conch, a tessellated 18-inch loudspeaker-of-the-sea, stood at the ready and commanded the eye. Pharoah was royally clad in black velvet and unpharaonically crowned in a cream-tone reversed beret. Faddis was bedecked in pastel lavender, while the others wore matching patterned dashikis and an assortment of interesting hats. There is the obvious utilitarian function for this African styling: it provides the musicians with the lebensraum to get down.

The rhythm section merits its own mention. What was actually a considerable draw for me was the presence of maestro Andy Gonzales, unsurpassed NY Latin Jazz bassist, and co-founder (along with Manny Oquendo) of Grupo Folklorico Experimentale Y Nuevoyoriquino and Conjunto Libre. Andy is an arch groovemeister, who consistently lays down a solid and cien porciento bailable Latin motif, much like a good Salidor does for the rumba. The international drum section consisted of Jamaican Dion Parsons on traps, Cuban Pedro Paulo Martinez on Conga, and Senegalese wild man Abdu M'Boup on dun-dun and djembe. Young Martinez did a fine job, amply displaying the de rigueur " Mano secreto " technique of modern Cuban congueros. Pianist Steve Scott, mildly reminiscent of early Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim), nicely rounded out the rhythm section. The man who stole the show for this reviewer, however, was M'Boup. Abdu, all bone and sinew, long, tangled hair and flashing eyes, appeared —like Odwalla —and thumped a message from the ancestors that quickened the blood of all. Sharp, contrapuntal reports with curved, blunted stick on his well mic'd dun-dun added furied intensity, excitement, and exclamation to both solos and arrangements. He "rocked" the band, often catapulting it into inter-galactic-groove-hyperspace. He was the Mac Man; he had the candy.

The set commenced with introductions and a previously unrecorded tune of unannounced name. Unlike days of yesteryear, Pharoah, with his big mellow tone, played far more inside than I had ever heard him. It led me to suspect that the once raging fire-in the-belly had softened to lambent, glowing embers.

The musicians proceeded through a well-architectured and eclectic set: an upbeat, highly arranged intro tune, a salsa tune, bolero, jazz standard, and a textured, high-energy finale. While bright moments dotted the set, it was the final piece, in three movements and entitled, "African Shuffle," which left the audience in a sweet sweat. The piece began with a choir of conches from the horn section. The second movement began with a rapid mano secreto solo by conguero Maritnez, and intensified with him chanting from Santeria, " A Ko Mando a So Gna Gna Volo ," " Baba Fumilaye " and " Ague, Ague." The chanting concluded with Martinez launching into a blistering rumba clave with his left stick on the wood of the drum, while his right hand deftly soloed on the skins —reminiscent of early Giovanni Hidalgo. The final section was the actual melody: Turre's "Killer Joe"-like conception of an Africanized shuffle based on an unusual 6/8 Nanigo rhythmic groove. During the ensuing solos, I heard many soulful horn quotes, ranging from "Work Song" to "Moanin'"—all consistent with the piece's melodic structure.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

New York @ Night
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
Read more articles
Colors for the Masters

Colors for the Masters

Smoke Sessions
2016

buy
Spiritman

Spiritman

Smoke Sessions
2015

buy
Blue Lines Trio

Blue Lines Trio

Self Produced
2015

buy
Delicious And Delightful

Delicious And...

HighNote Records
2011

buy
Delicious And Delightful

Delicious And...

HighNote Records
2010

buy
Rainbow People

Rainbow People

HighNote Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater Live Reviews
The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra at Greer Cabaret Theater
by Mackenzie Horne
Published: November 15, 2018
Read Enjoy Jazz 2018 Live Reviews
Enjoy Jazz 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Jazz for all Ages Live Reviews
Jazz for all Ages
by Martin McFie
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Baku Jazz Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Baku Jazz Festival 2018
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe Live Reviews
Joanna Pascale at Chris' Jazz Cafe
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 13, 2018
Read Moldejazz 2018 Live Reviews
Moldejazz 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Moldejazz 2018" Live Reviews Moldejazz 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: November 10, 2018
Read "Bruselas Flamenco Festival 2018" Live Reviews Bruselas Flamenco Festival 2018
by Martin Longley
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Reykjavik Jazz Festival 2018" Live Reviews Reykjavik Jazz Festival 2018
by Luca Vitali
Published: October 8, 2018
Read "Temple University Jazz Band at The Appel Room" Live Reviews Temple University Jazz Band at The Appel Room
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 1, 2018