Steve Turre – Colors For The Masters – Smoke Sessions

Steve Turre – Colors For The Masters – Smoke Sessions SSR-1606, 60:51 ****:

A group of  jazz professionals developing a thoughtful rapport in an attractive uncluttered session. 

(Steve Turre – trombone & shells; Kenny Barron – piano; Ron Carter – bass; Jimmy Cobb – drums; Special guests: Javon Jackson – tenor saxophone, tracks 1/3/4/6; Cyro Baptista – percussion, track 10)

Steve Turre knew he was going to have good day when he woke up on February 25, 2016. He was going into the recording studio to cut an album with an iconic jazz rhythm section. The ever tasty pianist Kenny Barron, the impeccable bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Jimmy Cobb who at eighty-seven was the only surviving member of the Miles Davis band that recorded the consummate jazz album Kind Of Blue in 1959. By the end of the day, Turre would not have been disappointed, as the album Colors For The Masters has turned out to be the perfect example of a group of jazz professionals developing a thoughtful rapport, in an attractive uncluttered session.

The music for this “live” recorded session is a deft combination of Turre originals, and other compositions from some well-known jazz players, as well as a couple of popular standards. The first three tracks are Turre numbers and each has their own striking individuality. “Taylor Made” (surely a golfing reference) sets the tone with an easy tempo that has an inner swing whereby Turre and tenor sax guest Javon Jackson establish a baseline for their improvisations. “Quietude” is a ballad that is warm and elegant with Turre’s trombone glistening over Barron’s finely-sculpted piano playing. “JoCo Blue” has a blues-based theme that is rich in harmonic coloration, with Jimmy Cobb’s use of his cymbals to push the band forward in an assertive way, as Turre and Jackson exchange musical ideas.

Having a Thelonious Monk composition as part of any recording project seems to be de rigueur these days. “Reflections” fits in here with ease, as it has fewer of the jagged corners and quirky notes structures than some of Monk’e other compositions. Turre takes advantage of this by using a mute on part of his improvisation, to give the number a delicate feel. Ron Carter delivers a bass exploration that emphasizes his beautiful tone.

The title track “Colors For The Masters” hums along in an angular fashion with a Latin vibe, as Turre’s trombone meditates incisively over Barron’s modal chording. The session ends with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado” as percussionist Cyro Baptista joins the band. In this spirited version of the tune, Turre demonstrates his versatility, that in addition to the open and muted horn playing, he uses shells to add a novel tonal dimension to the composition. Kenny Barron offers a wonderfully erudite solo, as Baptista’s rhythmic underpinnings are assertive and bursting with energy.

TrackList: Taylor Made; Quietude; JoCo Blue; Coffee Pot; Reflections; Mellow D For R.C.; Colors For The Masters; When Sunny Gets Blue; United; Corcovado

—Pierre Giroux

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