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Steve Turre: Lotus Flower

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The ever-restless Steve Turre is not one to rest on his laurels or get caught in a rut. Forever investigating different settings for his music, here Steve unveils the septet environment that proved such an effective vehicle for his music last December at the festival in Havana. What makes this band’s sound so distinctive is the work of two wonderful women, wife Akua Dixon on cello, and the electrifying Regina Carter on violin. Carter, whose Verve debut is much-anticipated, brings a rapture and palpable bounce to whatever bandstand she graces. Witness her joyous solo on “Chairman of the Board.”

The date also finds Turre paying homage to his mentors and influences. The opener, “Lotus Flower,” recalls McCoy Tyner, while he wrote “Chairman” for the boss of the modern trombone, J.J. Johnson. Rahsaan Roland Kirk, on whose bandstand Turre spent many rewarding moments, is recalled via the haunting “Inflated Tear,” Kirk’s harrowing paean to his hideous first moment of blindness. It was with Kirk that Turre first played the classic “Sposin,” another feature for Carter’s string mastery. And Woody Shaw, with whom Turre crafted a peerless trumpet-trombone harmony, enters the mix courtesy of his line “The Organ Grinder.” Elsewhere “The Fragrance Of Love” is a splendid ballad, “Goodbye” bears a warm and melancholy cello theme statement, and “Shorty” is the lone conch shell feature, concluding the album with a cliff hanging dissolve.