August 2000

Steve Turre - In the Spur of the Moment
Telarc CD-83484
Released: 2000

by John Crossett

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ***

[Reviewed on CD]This new CD by Steve Turre is really a story in three different musical parts -- one part blues, one part modern and modal, and the last part Afro-Cuban. Telarc, who seem to be getting in the habit lately of giving talented, though relatively unknown, jazz artists the opportunity to lead their own sessions, has paired trombone player Turre with a trio of today’s superb pianists, each playing music in their favored setting. They start with Ray Charles doing the blues, move to Stephen Scott playing bop, and then to Chucho Valdes playing the Latin rhythms of his homeland. This type of recording offers listeners a real treat because there is sure to be at least one style that coincides with their musical tastes.

I absolutely loved the four tunes with Ray Charles. I love the blues in jazz anyway, so when you add an artist of the talent and stature of a Ray Charles, you just know the session is going to cook. And this session doesn’t just cook, it burns. Check out Turre and Charles (with able support from Peter Washington on bass and Turre’s brother Peter on drums) doing that old jazz war-horse "Misty." You think you’ve heard all the permutations of that song? Wrong! The Turre/Charles version restores all the longing and heartache that rightfully belongs in the song. It’ll bring a tear to your eye and a lump to your throat. It is beautiful. There is a real chemistry between Turre and Charles that you don’t often find in these type of settings. I hope someone (are you listening Telarc?) will recognize and be inspired to record an entire disc of this dynamic pair.

I also enjoyed the set with Turre and Chucho Valdes (assisted by Andy Gonzolez on bass and Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez on percussion). Turre and Valdes truly sound as if they are enjoying themselves, and the music benefits because of it. Pay close attention to the differing types of percussive instruments used by Hernandez. If your system can sort them all out timbrally and spatially, then its resolving power is right up there where you want it to be.

The only session on this disc that I just couldn’t get into was the three tunes Turre did with Stephen Scott (with sideman support from Buster Williams on bass and Jack Dejohnette on drums). This really surprised me, given the stature of the musicians involved and the fact that my musical tastes run in the direction of bop/modal jazz. It just didn’t seem that all the guys were on the same page musically. The emotion and chemistry of the other two sessions just wasn’t there

Sonically, this disc is up to the usual Telarc standards. Timbres are close to real, and there is a nice, wide soundstage with reasonable depth and lots of space around the instruments. You might be interested to know that In The Spur Of The Moment was recorded in surround sound for those of you who have forsaken two channels for five.

Steve Turre’s In The Spur Of The Moment is a very nice album, and not just because of the presence of pianists such as Ray Charles, Chucho Valdes and Stephen Scott. What makes this album a fun listen is Steve Turre. This man has real talent and a burning desire not to be pigeonholed into any one type of music. Wait until you hear Steve whip out chorus after chorus on the shell -- whoa, what a treat! I look forward to hearing more from Steve Turre, and I wonder what musical styles he’ll delve into next.