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September 15, 2000 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-15

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pJIlues and Jazz headliner
Turrentine will be missed

ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 15, 2000 - 11

The Washington Post
Stanley Turrentine, the original Mr.
T, was a jazz paradox: a bluesy player
who could bop with the best of them
shout the blues if a song warranted
it. He also attached himself to some of
the music's most embarrassing lunges
for pop success.
Turrentine, who died Tuesday at 66
after suffering a stroke over the week-
end, could laugh off the howlers -
such as a 1976 jazz interpretation of
"Stairway to Heaven," with strings, a
recording that prompted guffaws even
then.
(Turrentine's performance at the

Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival -
originally slated for Saturday night -
was cancelled after the announcement
of his stroke. A replacement has not
yet been named.)
Turrentine knew how to survive
even when the music was flailing
about, ashamed of its tradition. Turren-
tine had no patience either for the des-
peration that surrounded jazz in the
'60s and '70s or for the curatorial
whispers that enveloped the music in
the Wynton Marsalis-led back-to-
basics movement of the '80s.
"I stay out of what's popular or
who's a jazz purist," he once said.
"That's for critics and writers. I don't
have any favorite kind of group. I just
like playing. It doesn't matter what the
context is."
Turrentine just kept on doing what
he did - playing a rollicking tenor
sax, showing his best in small settings,
doing whatever it took to keep his
sounds in the bins of the record shops.
From the start, Turrentine would not
join any jazz church. Born in Pitts-
burgh, he attributed his passion for the
blues to his mother, a stride pianist. By
high school, Turrentine had his own
band, Four Bees and a Bop, which
played the hard stuff but was commer-
cial enough to get prom jobs.
Turrentine toured with bluesman
Lowell Fulson, did a stint with the
Army and its band, backed Ray
Charles, and in 1954, replaced John
Coltrane in Earl Bostic's jazz band. His
sharpest recordings date from the early
160s, when he added polish to his pow-
erhouse tone and thrived especially

when driven by a Hammond organ,
whether played by his former wife,
Shirley Scott, or by jazz organ pioneer
Jimmy Smith.
But as jazz struggled for attention
and a new direction in the face of the
pop revolution. Turrentine went where
he had to. There were disco-tinged cuts
and fusion fiascos in the '70s, an entire
album of Stevie Wonder tunes in the
'80s, and a '90s turn into the "Quiet
Storm" sound. You can sift through
those albums and find egregious stuff,
but you can also find real passion, a
lush tone and almost always a devotion
to adding edge to even the most sac-
charine of music.
Turrentine was unashamed to pro-
duce make-out music, some of it over-
ly produced, but some of it taking you
back to the roadside blues joint where
you first danced with the one you love.
To the end, Turrentine was not afraid to
work up a sweat in his music.
He was never one for radicalism;
experiments with time were not his
bag. He had a weakness for sweets,
whether candied ballads such as "What
the World Needs Now" or his '70s
standard "Sugar," which presented the
Turrentine philosophy: "When the
world is not at your feet / It won't have
to be like bitter defeat / Reach for the
taste of something sweet / Come to
sugar."
Through the sugary daze, Mr. T kept
his foundation in good shape - a
strong vibrato; a hu 0e sound modeled
after his mentor, Illinois Jacquet; and a
surprisingly delicate way of dancing
around a melody.

Courtesy of Allmusictcom
Vley Turrentine, 66, died Tuesday after
s ring a stroke over the weekend.
LINEUP
Continued from Page 8
in March of this year. And just for
diversity's sake. Milton will be pre-
ceded by tromboniist Jimmy Bosch
and his trademark brand of "salsa
di ," an amalgam of Ruben Blades
infhuenced tropicalia and jazz-based
improvisation.
Blues heroes the Robert Cray
Band will headline Sunday's Gallup
Park shows, which will be kicked
off by the UM Faculty Jazz Ensem-
ble and bluesman Hubert Sumlin.
Sunday's bill also includes two New
Orleans acts, the Zydeco accordion-
ist Rosie Ledet and Kernit Ruffins
k" a Barbecue Swingers, a hand
W which Special-
71izes in a laid-
back blend of
Ann Arbor Crescent City
jazz. blues and
Blues and soul.
Jazz Festival The Grammy
Gallup Park Award-winning

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success. This is why F-M places college graduates joining our team into exciting positions within
a growth-focused work environment based upon our Core Values of teamwork, mutual respect
and trust. It's also the reason we offer exceptional employee training, competitive benefits, a
progressive work/life balance and business culture designed to promote success on the job and
throughout your personal pursuits.
Career Fair
Thursday, September 14th and Friday, September 15th.
Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
MOGUL
Let's succeed together

BEFORE THE GAMES I
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Saturday and
Sunday at Noon
1960s. Like his

Cray has made
a name for him-
self with several
widely popular
albums that fre-
quently remind
listeners of
classic Mem-
phis soul
records of the
albums, Cray's live

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10

performances highlight his versa-
tile, Al Green-influenced singing
and understated guitar playing, with
hilanil- supplying plenty of
straight-ahead stomp behind him.
The Festival will officially com-
mence oi Friday evening at the
Michigai Theater with the
Women, Rhythm & Blues" con-
ert, headlined by and Mavis Sta-
les and Irma Thomas, who has
een signed onto the program as a
-eplacement for the ailing Ruth
r n. Thomas, whose soul and
R records of the 1960s earned
her the nickname "the Soul Queen
of New Orleans," has recently been
playing and recording with a Mem-
phis band, while Staples, who, coin-
cidentally, began her career
recording on Memphis' Stax
Records during the late sixties, will
be appearing with the Staples
Singers, her longtime backing band.
Although several of Staples' record-
ing eature forays into disco and
syn pop, both she and Thomas will
likely focus on their more rootsy
soul and gospel work at tonight's
concert.

SARAN CRACKNELL
Kelly's Lotker

8 99

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