Monday, December 19, 2005

I pitty the fool...

Who doesn't dig Stanley Turrentine's "That's Where It's At," Blue Note, another reissue I've been hoping to see for awhile (like Elmo Hope's "Trio and Quintet"). Mr. T wasn't on the first tier of great saxophonists from his era, Coltrane, Sonny Rollins or Wayne Shorter. But he's comparable to Sonny Stitt and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and that means he could play, baby.

His soulful, bluesy tone went good with the B-3 when he was married to Shirley Scott and later with Lonnie Liston Smith's electric piano on the CTI Classic "Sugar." Which makes soulful, bluesy piano player Les McCann a perfect partner on "That's Where It's At."

McCann is a big reason I wanted this disk. He's not overly acclaimed outside of "Swiss Movement" with saxophonist Eddie Harris and trumpeter Benny Bailey, like "Sugar" a CD I think every semi serious jazz fan should own. But he was a heck of a pianist and a good composer.

Four of the tunes on "That's Where It's At" are McCann's, including the lively, lyrical "We'll See Yaw'll After While, Ya Heah" and the melancholy ballad "Dorene Don't Cry." Turrentine kicks in "Soft Pedal Blues." (I think the soft pedal part of the title is misapplied, but not the blues part.) You get to hear plenty of both musicians (bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Otis Finch stick to the background) and they sound darn good. Worth the wait and a steal at $11.99 most places.

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