“Seldom does a group of musicians click on all levels and rise into the stratosphere, but this is one such record, a relic from a time when jazz was going through growing pains but still spawning some interesting projects. Turrentine was one of the lucky few who made his crowning achievement during this time” – David Rickert.
If this album were a dinosaur then it would be one those big green ones with the long necks (brontosaurus). And no, that is not meant as an insult; an album has to do something really impressive to get me to compare it to a dinosaur, especially one that has such a height advantage over all the others. The brontosaurus is also a herbivore: it comes in peace, and this album is no exception, it delivers sweet and soulful jazz that makes the perfect backdrop for a relaxed state of mind.
I found out about this album because I’m a huge fan of George Benson, the great jazz guitarist, and he plays on this album. However, the real star of the show is the saxophonist, Stanley Turrentine. His tone is phenomenal and his choice of notes soulful; his use of vibrato for example is way more expressive than most sax players. It has to be heard to be believed. George Benson is fantastic as always, delivering his guitar leads like only a black jazz musician can. The album is 5 songs long, and each song ranges from the 10-14 minute mark, which is what jazz is all about. The absolute highlight is the live recording of Sugar; it will give you chills.
* * * * 4 stars
- Sugar [10:09]
- Sunshine Alley [10:47]
- Impressions [14:14]
- Gibraltar [9:36]
- Sugar (live) [14:30]