The Music of Stanley Turrentine at the Allen Room in New York

Marcia Hillman By

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The Music of Stanley Turrentine
Eric Alexander, Robert Stewart, Gene Ludwig, Dave Stryker and Grady Tate
Allen Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center
New York, NY
February 16, 2006

Jazz at Lincoln Center presented a performance of the music of Stanley Turrentine as part of their Music of the Masters series. The evening's performance featured Eric Alexander on tenor sax, Robert Stewart on tenor sax, Gene Ludwig on the Hammond B3 organ, Dave Stryker on guitar and Grady Tate on drums. The evening's music consisted of original material by the legendary Stanley Turrentine and standards.

Starting off with "The Way You Look Tonight , where both saxophones took turns with the melody, everyone settled in swinging. After that both saxophones took turns on stage. The next tune, "Mattie T (a Turrentine original) was a blues affair which featured Robert Stewart along with guitar and organ solos. Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Quiet Nights followed with Eric Alexander taking the sax duties for a lovely rendition. Stewart's version of "In A Sentimental Mood was delivered sensitively in a conversational manner. Ludwig on the Hammond and Tate on drums did some interesting interplaying on this one. Turrentine's original tune "Sugar ended the first half of the concert and featured both saxophones. Dave Stryker took a smooth solo followed by Ludwig's strong solo.

The second half began with "Don't Mess With Mr. T. (written by Marvin Gaye) and displaying the talents of Alexander and Stryker. Stewart was featured on the next Turrentine original, "Storm . This contained a rhythmic pattern on the drums where Tate sounded like he was tap dancing. Then came a change of pace; Dave Stryker on guitar accompanied by Grady Tate on drums. Stryker played "Pieces of Dreams to dreamy perfection. Then Grady Tate, accompanied by Stryker, stepped up to the mike to sing "It Might As Well Be Spring . Tate's vocal ability is on a par with his incomparable drumming and he displayed all of the range, nuances and sensitivity of his voice in this night's performance. Alexander was up next with another Turrentine original, "Minor Chant and contributed a driving, powerful solo. Ludwig built his solo until it blistered and Tate took a wonderful drum solo and traded solos individually with guitar, organ and sax. The final offering was "La Place (written by Turrentine). It is the name of a street in Turrentine's hometown of Pittsburgh and the song with which Turrentine closed his performances. A bluesy affair, it afforded all the musicians a chance to give the audience a swinging closer.

The performers were able to capture Turrentine's spirit and sound. Eric Alexander and Robert Stewart each have different styles on the tenor. Alexander has a smooth, fluid approach and Stewart uses his sax to "talk the song. Together, they were able to present the entire scope of the instrument. Dave Stryker's guitar was smooth and Gene Ludwig's Hammond B3 provided the driving bottom. Grady Tate provided the solid beat along with his slick figures and punctuations.

There was much smiling and toe-tapping through this evening of "feel good music... from both the audience and the musicians.


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