Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Review: Stanley Turrentine - Common Touch

Husband and wife team, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine and organ maestro Shirley Scott, recorded some many good sessions together, although due to featuring on competing independent labels, mostly they did so through clever and subtle disguise – Turrentine appearing on Scott’s recordings as one ‘Stan Turner’, and Scott almost not bothering at all, with the pseudonym ‘Little Miss Cott’.

Regardless of the various such feats of subterfuge and daring, the music they made as a team was often among the best each recorded, Turrentine’s tenor in particular always well-suited to an organ backing. ‘Common Touch’ though is probably the lesser of their numerous collaborative works, the familiar easy-grooving of their usual partnership here just a little too easy and and a little too laid-back.

That’s not to say it’s a bad work in any way. The relaxed material and feel is raised and uplifted by the soulful playing of both, with Scott’s gospel-esque organ well to the fore. The featured guitar too gets some nice moments to shine also, thus stopping this from being an entirely husband-and-wife effort, but the rhythm team here doesn’t really get to do too much beyond standard horizontal fare.

Not essential Turrentine, the average jazzer will find the pacing too reclined and creative ideas light on the ground. And at times it does border dangerously close to creating the genre of lounge-jazz. But for anyone who likes the easy going grooves (it is after all part of Blue Note ‘Rare Groove’ series) and a more chilled listen to unwind and finger-snap to, then this is another pleasure from ‘The Sugar Man’ and his lady.


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