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Stanley Turrentine: Blue Hour

Stanley Turrentine Blue HourStanley Turrentine Blue Hour back
Stanley Turrentine with The Three Sounds: Blue Hour
(1961 Applause APBL 2306)

Original Liner Notes:
by Ira Gitler

Do you remember Longfellow's Childern's Hour? Well, This is The Blue Hour and it's not for Children. The "blue hour" is that early morning time when you "reach across the pillow where your baby used to lay" (part of an accurate blues lyric once sung by Rubberlegs Williams) and fail to find here (or him) there. It is when the lonely automobile sounds from the street below, the reflection of the neons and the elongated shadows on the wall, all serve as reminders of the solitary state.

If there is one thing that simultaneously reiterates the painful facts and serves as balm for your bruised soul, it is music. Specifically, the blues are about the most powerful combination of purgative and emollient that there is.

Blues are like the people who create them, products of their environment. The blues in Blue Hour are not the raw, urgent rural blues. Nevertheless, they are genuinely bluesy even if not cast in the usual 12-bar mold. They are representative of what is commonly known as the "blues ballad," blues or blues-inflected songs with a bridge.

This genre grew popular in the '40s, especially around the large cities. You heard it both in the repertoires of the big bands and the small combos.

Although the blues ballad has mainly been the property of vocalist, many of the melodies are so attractive that our modern jazzmen began to play them during the '50s. The best of this type of song has always contained the warmth of the blues coupled with the romantic elements from the "popular" tune. Buddy Jackson' s Since I Fell For You (sister Ella Johnson made this one especially convincing) is an excellent example.

Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You goes back to the Forties when some memorable versions of this Don Redman tune were done by Lips Page and Nat Cole. Old Count Basie fans will remember Jimmy's Rushing's original vocal plea of I Want A Little Girl.

While never thougt of as a blues ballad, Willow Weep For Me, by its strong blues feeling, qualifies, even though it approaches the category from another direction that, say, the Don't Cry, Baby that Jimmy Mitchelle did in the '40s with Erskine Hawkins.

This only 12-bar blues or the set is Blue Riff by Gene Harris. The tempo is a bit faster that any of the other, slow-grooved selections but it is in the same relaxed mood.

Noe detailed explanation is needed to tell you about the treatment of these songs here. The simple act of listening will be self-explanatory.

The horn that fills the Blue Hour with minutes of azure, cobalt, cerulean, navy, sky and baby, Baby is the tenor saxophone of Stanly Turrentine. Although only in his late 20s, Turrentine has a warmth of style associated with the players of an earlier period. His first inspirations were Coleman Hawkins and Don Byas and it is obvious that he learned some valuable lessons from them.

Stan's full-bodied tenor is ideally suited to the material here. At present with organist Shirley Scott's group, he is perhaps best-known for his work with the Max Roach Quintet during 1959-60. It should be known, however, that he played with Ray Charles in 1952 and Earl Bostic in 1953. Jobs like these were actually long-range preparation for a date such as Blue Hour.

Since Turrentine's first Blue Note LP as a leader (Look Out!, BN 4039) and his numerous apperances as a sideman on this label with Horace Parlan, Arthur Taylor, etc., he has drawn nothin but high praise from a variety of critics. His direct, honesty emotional playing, embodying elements of the old and the new, pleases a wide scope of listening taste.

the fly, funky threesome known as The Three Sounds are very familiar to Blue Note listeners. In essence , this trio is an export of Benton Harbor, Michigan and a product of Indiana. Pianist Gene Harris and drummer Bill Dowdy were born in the Michigan city. Bassist Andy Simpkins was born in Richmond, Indiana, the state where the group was formed at South Bend in 1956. In addition to their own albums on Blue Note, the Sounds also did a set backing Lou Donaldson.

The wedding of Turrentine and The Three Sounds is the work of an astute macthmaker. Their insinuating, down stylings are a perfect complement to Stan's tenor. If he is the hands of the clock which tells us the Blue Hour, the Sounds are the inner works with Harris also the sweep second hand.

This album has to make you feel good when you are really brought down. You don't even have to shake well before using. Use it freely; its healing powers won't diminish. And if your baby happens to come back and you're feeling all right again, it won't hurt to enjoy Blur Hour together, even at twelve noon.

Side A:
I Want A Little Girl
Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You
Blue Riff

Side B:
Since I Fell For You
Willow Weep For Me

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