Steve Turre

The Spirits Up Above

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Trombonist Steve Turre pays tribute to his former employer, the remarkable multi-reedist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, on this sincere effort. Turre and an all-star group perform nine of Kirk's songs plus the trombonist's "One for Kirk." But although the music is certainly well played, one misses Rahsaan's miraculous innovations. It was logical getting James Carter for the date since Carter, like Kirk, can play any reed instrument in any style. But surprisingly Carter is mostly pretty restrained during the project, as if he is going out of his way not to sound like Rahsaan. His usual high-energy multi-style improvisations are replaced by a more melodic and less colorful approach. Carter, Turre, altoist Vincent Herring and pianist Mulgrew Miller all have their spots, with flutist Dave Valentin guesting on a medley of "Serenade to a Cuckoo" and "Bright Moments." But the craziness and wide-ranging approach of Rahsaan's performances are missing on this rather conventional effort.

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