Stanley Turrentine

Tender Togetherness

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The second of three albums tenor sax man Stanley Turrentine did for Elektra after leaving Fantasy Records, 1981's Tender Togetherness featured an electric jazz-funk hybrid sound that packed a good deal more punch and brightness than its predecessor, 1979's Betcha. Produced by Earth, Wind & Fire's Larry Dunn (EW&F's "After the Love Has Gone" is given a treatment here), and featuring a subtle, almost Latin feel, the album bounces and bubbles along on an almost continuous joyful light R&B groove. Turrentine's sax lines are full of that steady, strong bluesy tone that has become his signature, but this time around he is very much a part of the ensemble, and Tender Togetherness is richer for it, sounding very much like a whole piece of fabric from the opening notes of the bright, airy "Hermanos" to the playful funk of the album closer, "Havin' Fun With Mr. T.," which is set up wonderfully by "Pure Love," a 42-second snippet of Turrentine playing his tenor sax accompanied by only an acoustic piano. Turrentine's heavily arranged and orchestrated crossover work has always seemed somehow weaker than his soul-jazz small combo approach, but Tender Togetherness is as bright as a sunny day on the weekend, making it one of his better fusion hybrids.

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