Steve Turre performing at the Harlem Stage
Harlem, NYC, USA – April 11, 2019

Tune in on Wednesday, April 12th beginning at 8pm for The Night Beat with Doug Crane as he continues to celebrate the Trombone.

The trombone has always been regarded as a second-class citizen in the world of jazz. Even jazz magazines that regularly dedicate an entire month’s issue to saxophones, pianos, drums, etc. rarely, if ever, do the same from the trombone.

April of course is International Jazz Month. And the week of April 16th through the 23rd (yes, I know that’s eight days) is International Trombone Week.

To give the trombone its due, I’ll be featuring some of my very favorite trombonists every Wednesday evening throughout April on the Night Beat.

We’ll highlight recordings by trombonist and seashellist (his description, not mine) Steve Turre for Week Two on April 12th. Steve is one the best known and currently active jazz trombonists if for no other reason than he’s been a member of the Saturday Night Live band since 1985.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1948, he grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. His parents, who first met at a Count Basie concert, exposed him to a healthy diet of blues, mariachi and jazz. While attending Sacramento State University (originally on a football scholarship), he began playing with the Escovedo Brothers salsa band.

After two years at Sacramento State, he transferred to North Texas State University to study and play in a band led by trumpet player Marvin “Hannibal” Peterson.

Steve worked with a number of outstanding musicians years before leading his own groups. A brief list includes Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Art Blakey, Van Morrison, Cedar Walton and most significantly trumpet player Woody Shaw from 1980 through 1987.
Steve has been leading his own bands since 1987 and has recorded roughly 20 albums from then to the present for labels including Stash, Antilles/Verve, Telarc, HighNote and Smoke Sessions.
While on a stopover in Mexico City during Steve’s tenure with Woody Shaw, an uncle of Steve’s told him of how his Aztec ancestors had also played seashells as instruments.

For many jazz fans, Steve’s recording “Sanctified Shells” from 1993 served as their introduction to his music. On the track “Toreador”, Steve’s mother is featured on castanets and trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie is heard on one of his very last recordings before he passed away. It’s one of the tracks you’ll hear on Wednesday evening as well as other recordings by Steve as a leader and as a sideman with McCoy Tyner and Terence Blanchard

Also on tap: music from Herbie Hancock who turns 83 years old on April 12th.

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