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Steve Turre: The Spirits Up Above

The Spirits Up Above (HighNote) is Steve Turre’s all-star trek to the shrine of Rahsaan Roland Kirk. A collection of eight Kirk originals and one by trombonist Turre, who worshipped Kirk from his early teens, growing up to study and play with his mentor. He has gathered an impressive combo for this session: James Carter on tenor sax, Vincent Herring on alto and soprano, pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Buster Williams, drummer Winard Harper and, on one track, guest flutist Dave Valentine. It’s easy to imagine what Kirk found so attractive in Turre’s nascent technique; it must have appealed to Kirk’s desire to spread his personal gospel of “listen to and play all genres.” Ditto for the other players on the disc, particularly Carter, a monster on tenor who sets the mood for the six-voice chorus on “Volunteered Slavery” with his primal scream. Turre contributes two great solos, the second with plunger, on one of Kirk’s loveliest melodies, “Stepping Into Beauty.” Will-iams’ playing alludes to the unusual gait of Kirk’s second wife, Dorthaan, in “Dorthaan’s Walk,” while Turre and Her-ring exchange phrases, and the rest is a cooking swinger.

Originally Published