Stanley Turrentine with the Three Sounds – Blue Hour
Music Matters Jazz
In the hands of Stanley Turrentine, the tenor saxophone was an instrument of soulful creativity and immense power. From his 1960 Blue Note debut, Look Out (BLP 4039/BST 84039) through his biggest hit for CTI Records, Sugar (CTI 6005) in 1971, Turrentine’s credentials were second to none as a giant in the genres of Hard-Bop, Modal and Soul-Jazz. The subject of this discussion places the tenor man in the company of Gene Harris on piano; Andrew Simpkins on bass and Bill Dowdy on drums who were collectively known as The Three Sounds for a program of the Blues. Blue Hour (BLP 4057/BST 84057), originally released in 1961 is the second of only two records where The Three Sounds would back a saxophonist. The first LP was 1959’s LD + 3 (BLP 4012/BST 84012) with alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. My copy used in this report is the 2015 Music Matters 33 1/3 Stereo reissue (MMBST-84057). The 1930 song, I Want a Little Girl written by Murray Mencher and Billy Moll leads off the first side. This infrequently heard ballad opens with an angelic introduction by the trio, exhibiting Harris’ attentiveness to the lyric and melody. Stanley joins in for the theme with a quiet sincerity in his approach, then delivers a graceful performance which captures the essence of this standard on the initial solo. Harris’ interlude is brief, but lovely and the closing by the quartet is especially beautiful.
Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You was written in 1929 by Don Redman and Andy Razaf. The song became a jazz standard in 1943 after Nat King Cole recorded it with his trio. The Three Sounds provide a nostalgic mood with a pensive introduction, allowing Stanley to deliver the melancholy melody with feeling. Turrentine starts the solos tastefully, enhancing each verse with subtle lyricism which reaches a peak of sensitivity at its conclusion. Harris instills the closing presentation of this standard with new life on an interpretation of intimate warmth which is a work of beauty. The only original on the album ends the first side, Gene Harris’ Blue Riff takes the tempo to a medium beat during the opening chorus which moves with a finger-popping, toe-tapping groove. The Sounds’ introduction sets the mood for Stanley to create some jubilant phrases on the opening statement with a vivacious spontaneity which builds to a successful summation. Gene takes the next turn for a cheerful presentation of joyful swinging with a youthful spirit which is also delightful. Stanley returns for a few final verses of soulful riffs, prior to Gene leading the trio into a fadeout.
The 1945 jazz and pop standard, Since I Fell For You by Buddy Johnson opens the second side. Johnson wrote both the music and words of this very beautiful ballad, and first introduced that year it with his sister Ella on vocals. This evergreen is one of the most recorded songs in jazz and pop and has been performed by many of the greatest musicians and vocalists in both genres. The Three Sounds start the song with a stylishly soft, slow-paced introduction as natural as if the song was written for this album exclusively. The trio segues into a soothing opening melody by Turrentine who solos twice, delivering tasteful and tranquil restraint on the first interpretation and closing chorus. Harris contributes a luscious reading which is lovingly stated with tenderness. Simpkins and Dowdy’s accompaniment is richly satisfying behind Gene as he performs each voluptuous verse. One of my favorite standards, Willow Weep For Me, written by Ann Ronell in 1932 opens with the exquisitely mellow tone of Stanley’s tenor sax leading the quartet through the main theme for one of his definitive ballad performances on the LP. Gene’s opening statement is a gorgeous, mid-tempo reading which compliments his colleague’s exceptional groundwork into an alluring culmination. Stanley’s closing performance starts at a poignant pace with a firm introspective tone, followed by a graceful swing which takes the tune down smoothly into a luscious finale.
Pianist Gene Harris, who was known for his gospel jazz style formed The Three Sounds in 1956 with Andy Simpkins and Bill Dowdy. The group became a hit with the public and by the time Blue Hour was recorded, the trio was amid a four-year run (1958-1962) recording a total of twelve albums for Blue Note including four in 1960 alone, which is why I believe Alfred Lion didn’t release the additional eight songs available on the 2000 two CD – album after this record hit the stores. The Three Sounds’ would be together until 1970, when Harris would leave to embark on a successful solo career. Stanley Turrentine was a veteran tenor saxophonist of the Soul-Jazz style since the fifties and he would record a total of seventeen LP’s for the label as a leader, plus several as a sideman including guitarist Kenny Burrell on Midnight Blue (BLP 4123/BST 84123); pianist Horace Parlan (1931-2017) on Spur of The Moment (BLP 4074/BST 84074). Three with organist Shirley Scott (1934-2002) who he was married to at the time, Never Let Me Go (BLP 4129/BST 84129); A Chip Off The Old Block (BLP 4150/BST 84150) and Common Touch (BST 84135). One with pianist Horace Silver (1928-2014), Serenade To a Soul Sister (BLP 4277/BST 84277) and three with organist Jimmy Smith (1928-2005), Midnight Special (BLP 4078/BST 84078); Back at The Chicken Shack (BLP 4117/BST 84117) and Prayer Meetin’ (BLP 4164/BST 84164).
In his liner notes, noted author, jazz historian and journalist Ira Gitler offers one definition of the Blue Hour as that early morning time “when you reach across the pillow where your Baby used to lay” and find to find him (or her) there. The sound on this LP is stunning, the remastering of Rudy Van Gelder’s original tapes by Record Technology Incorporated is also superb and the gatefold photos of each musician during the session compliments the music marvelously. What I’ve found the album to be is nearly thirty-eight minutes of blissful jazz by Stanley Turrentine and The Three Sounds that adds weight to any jazzy library and is an LP you can enjoy at any time of the day, the evening or the early morning during the Blue Hour.
I Want a Little Girl, Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You, Since I Fell For You, Willow Weep For Me – Source: Wikipedia.com
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posted by Robert J. Carmack ~ @blues2jazzguy -You know its very hard to find a word that describes a person perfectly, but I just may have. what I mean is, I googled the word Destiny and it read, ” the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. Also, “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate. HOWEVER. Sometimes if you’re lucky and say your prayers, you just might meet a talented, sublime musician who happens to play a very unique instrument in a small community of players within a special genre..the original art form of America, JAZZ.
Dorothy Ashby was Destiny’s big influence early on long before Alice Coltrane’s huge shadow loomed large in her life. But what was really a “head-scratcher” for me was when she mentioned in an interview I held with her recently. While as a child watching TV, a man with wild hair and zany behavior. He abruptly stopped and stared at a Harp momentarily, then sat down and begun to play a beautiful solo. She was watching a famous scene from a “Marx Brothers” film. That was just the spark needed in her little head. She went wow! I would like to play that. As a little girl growing up in the Compton community and going to Tibby elementary school. Destiny could only dream, as her mom had very little money and instruments were not in the cards. Even later as she grew up and tried to learn the violin, it did not “cut it for her.” Things were changing at home and her mom moved to San Pedro area projects for low-income, about the time for her to go to high school, she joined a vocal choir and wanted to take piano lessons but again was told they could not afford lesson. Frustrated but not deterred from her dream, Destiny became a barber, a good one too, which gave her independence and decision making power to pursue whatever she wanted. But before she knew it, she was approaching 30 years old and needed to sink or swim.making up her mind to go for it musically she began her journey as a harp player by beginning with the rudimentary method of mastering an instrument late in life. A very challenging endeavor, but none the less not impossible. She moved to Oakland East Bay area and sought out help, advice, direction. After a tad bit of finding her niche’, she found people like trumpeter Khalid Shaheed, pianist Tammy Hall and the legendary trumpeter Eddie Gale among many others. Now over 25 years later, she is being blessed beyond words. Not worrying about how long it took, but what she is doing now that she has arrived.
Destiny has opened for The Oakland East Bay Symphony and Smooth Jazz Artist Gerald Albright, shared the stage with Jazz Masters Marcus Shelby, Omar Sosa, Blue Note Artist Ambrose Akisemuire, and Azar Lawrence to name a few. She has headlined for ‘Women in Jazz’ Concert series, the Afro Solo/ Yerba Buena Gardens Concert Festival, Sunday’s in the Redwoods Concert, Fest Sundiata, and SFJAZZ Tribute to Alice Coltrane’s epic album Impulse Release ‘Journey in Satchidananda .
Destiny is the Principal Harpist for the Eddie Gale Inner Peace Orchestra, the Oakland Community Orchestra and performs with The AWESOME Orchestra.
The Destiny Muhammad JAZZ Trio~Following in the footsteps of jazz harp master Dorothy Ashby (who recorded with everyone from Freddie Hubbard and Frank Wess to Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder), the Destiny Muhammad Jazz Trio is a sleek and soulful ensemble designed to showcase Muhammad’s soaring vocals and transporting string work.
That second and most highly touted Jazz musician, pianist, composer and master harpist, the late Alice Coltrane. A profound influence on Destiny as a musician, composer but, also as a woman in a male-dominated genre. She has been given high praises by her peers and fellow bay area jazz musicians, as well as prestigious arts organization and music societies.
Whether interpreting jazz standards or her original tunes, Muhammad turns every piece into a soulful adventure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hora0U6vvDw
A plethora of achievements and awards received in a little over 25 years after not even starting until she was 30 years old on her instrument. Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy, Jazz Heritage Center of San Francisco Jazz Ambassador, ASCAP Songwriter Awardee, and Judge for The West Coast Songwriters Contest and Northern California Entertainers Music Awards Female Jazz Artist of the Year.
I asked Destiny what was her greatest joy in music? she said with glee, “That I’m still playing after starting late at 30 and taking that leap of faith. You can follow Destiny’s career and keep up with her gigs by going to her website:http://destinymuhammad.com
If you missed her moving tribute to the great Alice Coltrane the first time, see information below for tickets and or general information regarding the Concert, Alice Coltrane~Sonic Legacy August 26, 2018 – two shows only!
“Celebrating 20 years of Jazz Advocacy Through Whatever Medium Necessary”
STREET LIFE: MAGIC & MUSIC OF JAZZ CRUSADERS
Musical and Poetic Tribute
JUNE 22 9PM World Stage Performance Gallery
4321 Degnan Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90008
Exclusive Online tickets only at www.eventbrite.com $25
CRUSADER LEGACY 5 Plus Band
Teodross Avery tenor sax, Alvin Starks trombone, Mike Alvidrez~bass
Theo Saunders~ piano, Don Littleton ~ drums
Plus poet/spoken word ~ Robert J. Carmack
Produced by Robert J. Carmack & select Crusaders transcriptions by http://www.JamesArmstrongMusic.com
Come Out and Help us pay homage to the dynamic and game-changing group
Media: @blues2jazzguy ~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~951-840-7120
Producer Robert J. Carmack has created a show paying homage to music’s most celebrated jazz group over the last 5 decades. Carmack hand-picked Los Angeles “best of the best” local jazz musicians , all of whom are stellar musicians in their own right. Plus, Carmack will be adding his poems dedicated to the group, along with a special poem dedicated to the Saxman , Wilton Felder. Crusader Legacy 5 Plus are Teodross Avery tenor saxophone, Alvin Starks trombone, Don Littleton drums, Theo Saunders piano/keyboards, Mike Alvidrez bass/elect. bass and Robert J. Carmack spoken word/poet and a special surprise guest. The evening will be filled with the essential Jazz Crusaders compositions that made them into the iconic and award-winning group they were. one survivor left of band, Nesbert “Stix” Hooper.
General Information~(562) 432-5240 @ Roscoe’s Jazz & Blues Lounge