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The Spirits Up Above

Steve Turre

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Album Review

Trombonist Steve Turre pays tribute to his former employer, the remarkable multi-reedist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, on this sincere effort. Turre and an all-star group perform nine of Kirk's songs plus the trombonist's "One for Kirk." But although the music is certainly well played, one misses Rahsaan's miraculous innovations. It was logical getting James Carter for the date since Carter, like Kirk, can play any reed instrument in any style. But surprisingly Carter is mostly pretty restrained during the project, as if he is going out of his way not to sound like Rahsaan. His usual high-energy multi-style improvisations are replaced by a more melodic and less colorful approach. Carter, Turre, altoist Vincent Herring and pianist Mulgrew Miller all have their spots, with flutist Dave Valentin guesting on a medley of "Serenade to a Cuckoo" and "Bright Moments." But the craziness and wide-ranging approach of Rahsaan's performances are missing on this rather conventional effort.

Biography

Born: 12 September 1948 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the finest trombonists of the 1980s and '90s, Steve Turre also introduced the conch shells to jazz. After a brief period on violin, he switched to trombone when he was ten. Turre worked locally from age 13, played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk off and on from 1968, recorded with Santana in 1970, and in 1972 toured with Ray Charles. Turre had many diverse musical experiences in the '70s including tours with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra (both in 1973), an opportunity...
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The Spirits Up Above, Steve Turre
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