Sep 10, 2018
The thought of Steve Turre inevitably conjures the image of a master of at least two instruments – the trombone, and sea shells (most notably the conch). It’s the former that takes center stage on his latest release, The Very Thought of You (Smoke Sessions Records). A collection primarily of ballads, the CD allows Turre to put together a great band to showcase his abilities on the gentler side of his expression.
Turre is joined on The Very Thought of You by pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer Willie Jones III, supplemented on four of the pieces by a string octet conducted by veteran arranger Marty Sheller. An outstanding pair of guests, legendary tenor saxophonist George Coleman and guitar great Russell Malone, both lend their breathtaking mastery to the music as well. Together, they take classic material like “Never Let Me Go” and “The Shadow of Your Smile” and put a new sheen on the tunes, making old chestnuts relevant again.
There are few genres of music Steve Turre has not left his mark on. From touring with Ray Charles and Woody Shaw; to his tenure in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and innovative collaborations with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Lester Bowie; and his ground-breaking use of conch shells as musical instruments, Turre has shown there is almost nothing he can’t do, and do well. He has spent the last 35 years holding down a chair as a member of the Saturday Night Live band, and shows no sign of slowing down now.
Podcast 637 is my conversation with Steve Turre, as we talk about The Very Thought of You; the place that trombone has in the bands he has performed with, and what he learned from playing with the many greats. Musical selections include the title track, "No Regrets", and "Yardbird Suite."