Stanley Turrentine: Impressions
Stanley Turrentine (tenor sax)
Sugar (CTI 40811)
Butch Cornell (organ), Lonnie L. Smith, Jr. (electric piano), Billy Kaye (drums), Richard “Pablo” Landrum (congas).
Composed by John Coltrane.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 1970
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
If you had compiled a list of tunes you might expect Stanley Turrentine to record, John Coltrane's "Impressions" would be far from the top. Yet here was Mr. T, pioneer purveyor of soul jazz and funk, interpreting Trane's classic modal composition for the entire 15:30 of side 2 of his chart-making Sugar LP. Whoever's brainstorm it was, the idea worked brilliantly, and "Impressions" reminded everyone of Turrentine's serious ability as a straight ahead player.
None of Coltrane's multiphonics or squalling are to be found during Turrentine's less-than-turbulent "Impressions," but Mr. T is forcefully expressive with his biting, broad tone and forthright emotional drive. His solo is funkier and more spacious--it certainly breathes more than Coltrane's, thanks in part to the stimulating rhythmic foundation provided by Carter, Kaye, and Landrum. Turrentine does play some surprisingly contorted arpeggios, but relies mostly on bluesy phrases, riffs, and shouts, as well as a cleverly placed quote from "It Ain't Necessarily So." Both Cornell's comping and flowing improvisation on organ are first-rate. Hubbard's solo, tentative at first, hits high gear quickly thanks to some trademark "sheets of sound" tremolos. Benson's commanding solo is the most restlessly searching, especially after the horns' transfixing vamp (a recurring feature of this arrangement) propels the guitarist to develop even more abstract ideas. Turrentine's vivacious out-chorus is just gathering steam when victimized by an abrupt fade-out.
Reviewer: Scott Albin