Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Trombonist Steve Turre carries the jazz torch high, noble and filled with blues tones that ramble eloquently. His trombone expresses each personal theme with a knowing ear and a high, tenor vibrancy that resonates with the psyche of an artist who has a story to tell. The message comes at you with the emotional force of a Caruso, Carreras or Pavarotti. His trombone has developed into a vocal instrument through which he sends out thoughts and impressions with remarkable accuracy. At times, Turre will growl through the horn and others he'll bounce notes like a basketball. Mostly, however, he prefers lovely melodies that float on high like personal arias. Working with pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Ignacio Berroa on this, his 13th album as leader, Turre turns to the jazz forces that unify, those inspired by mentors such as Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Ray Charles. Using original tunes for most of the album, trombone, with occasional frontline partners, explains each theme and relates its story gracefully.
Turre dedicates "Brother Ray" to Ray Charles with a big blues mood that simmers nice and slow in its comfortable rhythmic juices. His program crosses generations with a splash. Trumpeter Sean Jones gives "Midnight in Madrid" the sparkle of a classical Spanish accent while alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett adds in-your-face musical bullets to Charlie Parker's "Segment." Opening with the title track, Turre emphasizes jazz' modern mainstream sources through close contact with syncopated melody and bruising groove. As he closes with a dedication to the late saxophonist Mario Rivera, Turre and Garrett send out melodic postcards over a sizzling rhythmic foundation with a steady heartbeat folded in by conguero Pedro Martinez. This enthusiastic Latin jazz closer, enhanced by Turre's conch shell solo at song's end, sends a message: jazz isn't just for a small segment of the listening public; it's for everyone." -AllAboutJazz
"If the rainbow of the title denoted musical diversity then it would be most fitting in the case of trombonist Steve Turre, as his musical bag is hewn from many colors. Turre is equally at home playing Latin rhythms, blues or straight-ahead jazz - hardly surprising when you consider his apprenticeship with saxophonist/flautist Rahsaan Roland Kirk and singer Ray Charles, his collaborations with timbalist/bandleader Tito Puente and pianist Hilton Ruiz, and his long associations with trumpeters Woody Shaw and Dizzy Gillespie, and pianist McCoy Tyner. All these influences are felt on Rainbow People, a classy and deceptively leisurely session which finds Turre in sparkling form.
Part of the success of Rainbow People surely lies as much in the familiarity of the musicians with one another as in the strength of Turre's arrangements. Turre has played with all these musicians in various settings over many years, with the exception of trumpeter Sean Jones, whom Turre hired on the spot after seeing him perform at a New York jam session.
Jones is used sparingly, playing on three of the nine tracks, combining harmonically with Turre to great effect. His sound shifts between warm and honey-toned on "Para El Commandante, and more biting on "Midnight in Madrid." Similarly, saxophonist Kenny Garrett appears on just four tracks, but his playing is strong and he builds his solos with patience and imagination. On Charlie Parker's "Segment," Garrett stretches out a little more, as might be expected.
The soulful blues of "Brother Ray" is probably one of the best tributes to Ray Charles since the singer's passing in 2004, evoking the voice and spirit of the man. Turre takes two intimate solos, the first on open trombone and the second muted - the latter coming after a tasteful bass intervention from Peter Washington, and capturing the plaintive cry that Charles exhibited in his blues. Miller provides beautifully sympathetic accompaniment which reveals the gospel/blues side of his playing.
The rhythm section of Washington and drummer Ignacio Berroa swings the music throughoutRainbow People. They drive the goodtime blues vibe of "Groove Blues," which has the feel of a more languid version of "Sweet Home Chicago," with Garrett, Miller and Turre each taking enjoyable solos. Miller, for his part, is also in fine form, playing to the needs of the music beautifully. He injects the spirit of McCoy Tyner into the music, and the influence of Coltrane's great pianist on Turre is reinforced further by the inclusion of Tyner's lovely "Search for Peace."
Turre's Latin roots shine on "Midnight in Madrid," with its brassy Iberian bravura and just a hint of Turre's Mexican heritage, and on the impressive session-closer dedicated to Latin great Mario Rivera, "Para El Comandante," on which Turre's conch is given a delightful run for the only time on the album, over a tasty salsa rhythm.
The blues is at the heart of Rainbow People and the songs are like a heartfelt, mellow incantation - gospel praise to guiding lights. Classy, sophisticated, and soulful." -AllAboutJazz
Down Beat (p.77) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Varied in texture and format, this no jive session covers most of Turre's vaunted musical facets: Latin, blues, bop and soul."
JazzTimes (p.114) - "'Groove Blues' is just that, a simple shuffle with an infectious feel that Garrett, Turre and Miller jump on with earthy gusto. Dig Washington's fat, walking bass lines here."
Personnel: Steve Turre (trombone, percussion); Kenny Garrett (alto saxophone); Sean Jones (trumpet); Mulgrew Miller (piano); Peter Washington (upright bass); Ignacio Berroa (drums, percussion).
On 2008's RAINBOW PEOPLE, veteran jazz trombonist Steve Turre leads an impressive ensemble that includes pianist Mulgrew Miller, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and bassist Peter Washington. Standout tracks on this vibrant set include "Brother Ray," a bluesy number that nods to one of Turre's mentors, Ray Charles, and the Spanish-tinged "Midnight in Madrid."
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