Seashell master kicks off new season at Vermont Jazz Center

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BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Jazz Center will kick off its 2019-20 season with a special concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, featuring the Steve Turre Quintet.

Come hear Turre perform on trombone and conch shells with Bruce Williams on saxophone and flute, Oscar Perez on piano, Corcoran Holt on bass and Orion Turre on drums. Steve Turre is regarded as one of the finest jazz trombonists in the world. His on-going recording and performing career has included tenures with Ray Charles, Woody Shaw, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers to name a few. This year he is celebrating 36 years as trombonist in the Saturday Night Live band. Turre has made records with a diverse group of artists ranging from Dizzy Gillespie, Celia Cruz, Etta Jones, McCoy Tyner, Max Roach and John Scofield, to Carlos Santana and Mariah Carey.

In numerous online inline interviews, Turre constantly alludes to key moments in jazz history: he peppers his conversations with relevant stories of past legends — singing solos breaks by Dizzy Gillespie or intervallic patterns by Woody Shaw to emphasize his points. Picking up his horn, he makes this history come alive. His own deep roots bear fruit whether wailing on modern-sounding originals, performing with McCoy Tyner or paying homage to Ellington's top trombonists like Tricky Sam Nanton or Lawrence Brown. Turre's initial exposure to jazz was through his parents. They were devotees of big band music who delighted in bringing the curious young trombonist to concerts and dances where he would experience, in person, the bands of Basie and Ellington performing with guest artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hodges and Coleman Hawkins. In his twenties, Turre was touring and recording with Ray Charles, Woody Shaw and Art Blakey as well as making sessions with Paul Simon and Carlos Santana. He also displayed a love and affinity for Latin music which led to tours and recordings with some of the finest Latin and salsa bands that ever existed, including those of Tito Puente, Manny Oquendo, Jerry Gonzales and Celia Cruz.

One of the critical components of a Turre performance is the inclusion of seashells: he has a collection of shells of various sizes ranging from small to gigantic. Each one has a carefully carved mouthpiece and a predetermined set of pitches. He changes his embouchure and moves his hand in and out of the open end to change the pitch. His mentor, the multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, inspired him to play the shells when using a circular breathing technique that gave Kirk the ability to create one long tone for up to five minutes. This soothing, beautiful music combines the sounds of seashells with Afro-Caribbean rhythms and it is yet another example of Turre's holistic, innovative approach to life that helps define his creative persona.

Steve Turre has said, "I believe musicians are like doctors - we're supposed to make people feel better."

The Vermont Jazz Center is honored to present him in a quintet setting at 8 p.m. this Saturday. Come to the show, he'll make you feel better. This concert may sell out, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance.

The VJC is grateful for this concert's sponsors: Dave Ellis and Anne Greenewalt of Ellis Music, Mark Anagnostopulos and Janet Zinter, Mary Ellen Copeland and Ed Anthes, and Cohen and Rice Law. The VJC is also thankful for the ongoing support of Holiday Inn Express Suites of Brattleboro. VJC publicity is underwritten by the Brattleboro Reformer, WVPR, WVEW and WFCR.

Tickets for Steve Turre Quintet at the Vermont Jazz Center, 72 Cotton Mill Hill, are $20-plus for general admission, $15 for students with ID (contact VJC about educational discounts); available online at www.vtjazz.org, by email at ginger@vtjazz.org, and at In the Moment in Brattleboro. Tickets can also be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line at 802-254-9088, ext. 1. Handicapped access is available by calling the VJC at 802 254 9088.

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