Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Jazz April Birthday: Stanley Turrentine

Francis Wolff
Mosiac Records

His unmistakable big warm sound was based in the blues, and he polished it on the road as a 17 year-old addition to bluesman Lowell Fulson's band in the early 1950s.  That band also included Ray Charles.

Turrentine's only formal musical training came from his military service.  But he was surrounded by teachers and mentors:  His father was a saxophonist, his mother a stride pianist and his brother Tommy Jr.  a trumpeter.  Stanley married organist Shirley Scott in 1960, and their musical collaboration resulted in some of the most popular soul-jazz recordings of the era.

Stanley's work with famed organist Jimmy Smith continued the sound, and was a launching point for Turrentine's "crossover" to pop music styles.  His CTI recordings in the 1970s like Sugar and Don't Mess With Mr. T were cross-genre successes.  He never strayed too far from blues and jazz, though, and was a favorite of jazz fans worldwide.

"My music has been called rock, be-bop, rhythm and blues, jazz fusion...I just let others describe what my music is," said Turrentine in a phone interview. "If I hear something and I like it, I'll play it. I just consider myself playing good music."

Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.
Related Content
  • Jazz April is the combination of Jazz Appreciation Month and the second annual International Jazz Day, April 30, 2013.Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is…

Why Support KNKX?

You depend on KNKX for trusted, in-depth local news, music by knowledgeable hosts and enlightening NPR programs. We depend on members for more than half of our financial support.

Give Today