Friday, July 19, 2013

Steve Turre The Bones of Art HighNote 2013 5 Stars!

The  Bones of Art

J.J. Johnson brought swag to the trombone. Steve Turre is swag to the second power!
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

A musical homage to the legendary Art Blakey finds Steve Turre fulfilling a long time desire for a sextet recording with a three trombone front line, no other horns. The end result of Turre's vision is a powerhouse band that finds a musical happy place between large ensemble and the more traditional big band vibe with the impeccable writing and arranging of fellow Blakey alumni including Frank Lacy, Steve Davis and Robin Eubanks. Naturally it could not be a Steve Turre recording without his virtuoso and incredibly engaging  work with his various shells for an amazing textured and highly organic effect within the music.

Turre contributes three tunes here with perhaps the ballad "Blue And Brown" honoring Lawrence Brown, Duke Ellington's first trombonist as the sonic centerpiece of this incredible buffet. An incredibly beautiful ballad that would be a polar opposite to another Turre composition "Daylight" which pop with vitality and the Cuban flavor of percussionist Pedro Martinez and Turre's now famous conch shells.  "Daylight" welcomes you to the land of rhythm and groove. The formula here could be something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. "Julian's Blues" is a blues nasty for the great Julian Priester. It was Priester that played a primary role in introducing Steve Turre to a new kind of harmony and with this composition it is blatantly obvious he was paying close attention.

This is arguably Steve Turre's finest work to date but equally impressive would be the rhythm section that supports this trombone summit. Willie Jones III on drums along with Xavier Davis on piano and fender rhodes are two players that do not get near enough ink with their contributions on so many memorable recordings. Peter Washington plays acoustic bass and hits that lyrical sense of urgency with a walking bass line that hearkens back to an Oscar Pettiford or Ron Carter. The revolving trombone section assembled here includes Steve Davis, Frank Lacy, and Robin Eubanks with each participant given a chance to add his own unique artistic voice to the mix. Kenny Davis sits in on electric bass on the Turre tune "4&9" and the previously mentioned Pedro Martinez lays down his own righteous groove on congas, bongos and campana.

The term virtuoso is kicked around so much it loses all meaning when applied to some artists. Not here, Steve Turre is a beast and raises the bar for others to follow.

The Bones of Art is an exemplarory recording on all levels with Turee yet another jewel in the HighNote musical crown.

Tracks: Slide's Ride; Blue & Brown; Settegast Strut; Bird Bones; Sunset; 4&9; Fuller Beauty; Shorter Bu; Julian's Blues; Daylight.