Steve Turre – Sanyas (ENG review)

Sanyas Smoke Sessions Records - avalaible
Steve Turre – Sanyas

Trombonists’ albums are not very numerous and not always as exciting, so we are happy to talk to you today about “Sanyas” by Steve Turre, which is the first live album of his career. This album will be very difficult to categorize, ranging from perfectly recognizable jazz to sometimes repetitive musical intentions in form. To be honest, one might even be as bewildered on the first listen as with some of Miles’ oldest albums… Recorded during an electrifying weekend at the Smoke Jazz Club, “Sanyas” benefits from a dream team of star musicians, continuing the mission of Turre’s previous album on Smoke Sessions, “Generations,” by bringing together exceptional artists from multiple generations. Turre is accompanied by the deans of the iconic rhythm section, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White; modern masters, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and tenor saxophonist Ron Blake; and rising star Isaiah J. Thompson on piano. It’s here that one might exclaim: Oh! What a great team! And it’s not just a saying—this album is of absolute creative richness, not for everyone as one needs a minimum of jazz culture to truly enjoy it.

This is the first time Steve Turre is leading a group, but as you can judge by listening to this album, the extraordinary virtuosity of this artist is the mark of long experience, ranging from “Live at the 6th Tokyo Music Joy,” the only recorded encounter between the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy; Dizzy Gillespie’s Grammy-winning “Live at the Royal Festival Hall”; McCoy Tyner’s “Uptown/Downtown,” recorded at the Blue Note in New York; Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged special; Charles Fambrough’s “Blues at Bradley’s”; and Turre’s personal favorite, Woody Shaw’s “Master of the Art.” And of course, he has been seen and heard most weekends as a member of the house band for Saturday Night Live for nearly 40 years.

This album is full of references, as evidenced by its title “Sanyas,” which is also significant because it dates back almost to the beginnings of Turre’s career. “Sanyas” was initially recorded by Woody Shaw on the trumpeter’s 1975 album “The Moontrane,” thus becoming the trombonist’s first recorded composition and solo. He later revisited this piece on his own 1991 album “Right There.” The name comes from the Hindu spiritual practice, although Turre’s composition was inspired by the bright orange robes worn by Sanyasis, monks who have renounced worldly goods and pursuits.

We particularly love that this album is in a live format. Indeed, the artists’ dynamics and the fragility of each musician, hidden by their experience and virtuosity, make it a unique album. Steve Turre states: “There is a difference between extending tradition and feeling the need to break with tradition,” he concludes. “I firmly believe that you don’t have to try to be different. You just have to be yourself, which is hard to do. That’s where the magic happens.” And the magic is certainly there, from the first to the last track, on this album brimming with inventiveness and emotions. An “Indispensable” in our opinion, it is a reference among great jazz albums, even though it has just been released.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, June 30th 2024

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