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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Steve Turre

Steve Turre demonstrated once again why he is one of the first call trombonists in the world in the second night of his two-night residency at Washington, D.C.’s Blues Alley. It wasn’t revolutionary jazz, but Turre and his crew–tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson, pianist George Cables, bassist Steve Kirby and drummer Victor Lewis–were as solid as ever.

The band started off with a shuffle blues, and as the formula goes for such a tune, solos were passed around the band, followed by a shout chorus and out head. Turre continued with “The Nearness of You,” played straight up and down, although unique to this rendering of the ballad was a trading section with the drums, featuring the subtle brushwork of Lewis. Also of note was Turre’s muted trombone work on the out head. “Puente of Soul,” a Turre original dedicated to Latin percussion master Tito, was the first selection of the night off of the trombonist’s latest album, TNT (which stands for, as Turre pointed out “not the dynamite, but Trombone N’ Tenor”). Clearly influenced by the trademark Latin rhythms Puente popularized with his bands, this one ended with a driving solo from Lewis, who managed to get a timbalelike sound from his set, bringing to mind the spirit and high energy of Puente.

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