Sunday, May 28, 2017

Stanley Turrentine - Mr. Natural

Many excellent Blue Note sessions were not released at the time, for various reasons. Sometimes there were minor technical or musical flaws, sometimes an artist recorded more than could be viably released, and sometimes the results were judged to be out of character for the artist. Beginning in the 1970s, the label introduced several release series to bring out these worthy, previously unheard recordings. The Classic series, known to collectors informally as the "Rainbow" series for the graphic in the upper left corner of each cover, was begun in 1979, and resulted in much wonderful music.

Texas tenor man Stanley Turrentine recorded for Blue Note for about a decade, beginning in 1960. His Blue Note albums tended to be bluesy blowing sessions or dates featuring covers of then-current pop and R & B tunes. There is one of those pop covers here - The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love." But Mr. Natural was most likely not released at the time it was recorded (1964) because it was deemed too edgy for Turrentine's fans. The personnel consisted of musicians more associated with the more forward-looking, rather than bluesy, side of Blue Note: Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Bob Cranshaw, and Elvin Jones. (Percussionist Ray Barretto appears on three tracks.) Turrentine, however, fits in well with his colleagues here, while maintaining his personal style. This music took fifteen years to see the light of day, but it was worth the wait.

Here's the first track, a 5/4 blues called "Stanley's Blues." Duke Pearson later recorded Turrentine's tune as "Yahoo."

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