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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Colors For The Masters

Smoke Sessions Records SSR - 1606

1. Taylor Made

2. Quietude

3. Joco Blues

4. Coffee Pot

5. Reflections

6. Mellow D For R.C.

7. Colors For The Masters

8. When Sunny Gets Blues

9. United

10. Corcovado

Steve Turre - Trombone, shells

Kenny Barron - Piano

Ron Carter - Bass

Jimmy Cobb - Drums

Special Guests:

Javon Jackson - Tenor sax (tracks 1, 3, 4, 6)

Cyro Baptista - Percussion (track 10)

One of the joys of jazz for me is listening to the warm full-blooded tone of the trombone played by a virtuoso of the instrument. I have been hooked on the sound since listening to J. J. Johnson live in concert many years ago. It was with pleasure, then, that I greeted this CD. Steve Turre not only fills the bill as far as quality is concerned, this five-time Down Beat poll winner has, over the years, played and recorded with a stellar list of musicians. This may be why he has managed to assemble this dream team of a rhythm section to keep him company on his latest album. Pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Ron Carter and veteran drummer Jimmy Cobb have all led groups, as well being sidesmen on innumerable occasions. Barron spent six years with Stan Getz, for instance, while Carter and Cobb both, at different times, were with Miles Davis. A further point to mention about Turre himself is that he also plays sea shells, in particular the conch shell. If you doubt whether that can be done at all, let alone done well, you need to listen to the final track of the album, Jobim's Corcovado.

Half of the compositions on the disc were written by Turre, three others by jazz giants such as J.J. Johnson, Thelonious Monk and Wayne Shorter plus a couple of standards. A high level of performance is maintained. I got the greatest enjoyment from the opening track and then, from the final three offerings. Taylor Made, a Turre original, is a jaunty number where Turre and the guesting tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson star in effortless fashion while Kenny Barron is typically melodic and Ron Carter's supple bass also hits the spot. I haven't heard When Sunny Gets Blue for a long time. I associate it with singer June Christy but this interpretation has all you could want. This lovely ballad receives a moody treatment that suits it well. The versatile Turre uses a muted trombone (other instances can be found on Reflections, where a Harmon mute is used, and a cup-mute on Mellow D For R.C.). Wayne Shorter's United is sprightly. Turre goes at the theme with a will and the rhythm section are immaculate. Jobim's Corcovado, known also by its title in English, Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars, has a bossa rhythm and allows Turre to play the conch with an elegance and competence which is amazing.

Guest tenor sax player Javon Jackson pitches in with a vengeance on the up-tempo Coffee Pot and indeed, on Joco Blue where there's a distinct rhythm and blues feel about his solo. This Joe Henderson-influenced talent swings along nicely with Turre, too, on Mellow D For R.C. If I'm conveying the impression that this album is a treat, then this review has done its job. Aside from the consummate musicianship of all concerned, generous breathing space exists so that we get the chance to savour the qualities of each member of the group. And what qualities they are!

James Poore

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