Trombonist Steve Turre Releases First Live Album “Sanyas” | WATCH NEW VIDEO!

Trombonist/Composer Steve Turre Releases the First Live Album in his Storied Five-Decade Career with the Exhilarating Sanyas

Available Today, via Smoke Sessions Records, the Album Features an All-Star Band with Nicholas Payton, Ron Blake, Buster Williams, Lenny White, and Isaiah J. Thompson

Album-Release Shows at Smoke Jazz Club
Friday, June 28 Through Sunday, June 30

Throughout 2024, Smoke Jazz Club is celebrating its 25th anniversary, its post-pandemic rebirth and renovation, and the first decade of its record label, Smoke Sessions, with a series of live recordings by some of the acclaimed artists who have called the club home. The latest entry in the series is historic for another reason – Sanyas, due out June 28, marks the first live album as a leader from legendary trombonist and shell master Steve Turre, a landmark in a career spanning more than 50 years.

Recorded over an electrifying weekend at Smoke Jazz Club, Sanyas boasts a dream all-star band that continues the mission of Turre’s previous Smoke Sessions release, Generations, in bringing together stellar artists from multiple generations. Turre is joined by elders in the form of the iconic rhythm section of bassist Buster Williams and drummer Lenny White; modern masters trumpeter Nicholas Payton and tenor saxophonist Ron Blake; and the rapidly rising star Isaiah J. Thompson on piano.

“I’ve been playing at Smoke since the beginning when they were just getting started,” Turre recalls. “Even before that, I played at the club [in its former guise as] Augie’s. I’ve watched it grow to become one of the major authentic jazz rooms in the city.”

Though Sanyas provides a welcome and long-overdue opportunity to hear Turre lead a band onstage, he’s been involved in no shortage of live recordings over the course of his half-century career, many of which trace his work with jazz’s most revered names.

They include Live at the 6th Tokyo Music Joy, the only meeting on record between the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy; Dizzy Gillespie’s Grammy-winning Live at the Royal Festival Hall; McCoy Tyner’s Uptown/Downtown, from the Blue Note in NYC; Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged special; Charles Fambrough’s Blues at Bradley’s; and Turre’s own personal favorite, Woody Shaw’s Master of the Art. And of course he’s been heard and seen most weekends as part of the Saturday Night Live house band for almost 40 years.

The title track of Sanyas is also significant for harkening back nearly to the dawn of Turre’s career. “Sanyas” was originally recorded by Woody Shaw on the trumpeter’s 1975 album The Moontrane, becoming the trombonist’s first composition and first solo on record. He later reprised the piece on his own 1991 album, Right There. The name comes from Hindu spiritual practice, though Turre’s composition was inspired by the bright orange robes worn by the Sanyasi, monks who have renounced worldly goods and pursuits.

The results burst with vibrant colors of their own, opening with an explosion of sound from the horns over a surging rhythmic foundation. The tumult quiets for an entrancing, dark-hued, unaccompanied solo by Williams; Blake’s quicksilver turn is later bookended by Turre on first trombone and later shells, showcasing his virtuosity on both instruments.

The classic “All the Things You Are” is given an uncharacteristically brisk treatment, it’s stop-start rhythm tailored to White’s nimble percussive responses. All three horns take solos that expand on the standard’s indelible melody, lyrical even at this accelerated tempo. The album’s second standard (available only on CD and digital editions) is a breezy, gently funky take on “These Foolish Things,” with Turre approaching the tune with the engaging spirit of a vocalist.

Lee Morgan’s “Mr. Kenyatta” corrals the three-horn frontline atop a bold groove, spurring a fiery Payton solo stoked by White’s pointed accents. Turre follows with a tightly coiled outing, then Blake, speaking in tongues, over a brass fanfare before Turre returns to the shells for a staggering, breathy pronouncement.

Turre’s second original contribution is a new ballad entitled “Wishful Thinking.” Beautiful and wistful, the tune opens with the trombonist at his most elegant, the melody passed to an equally graceful Payton over Thompson’s poignant keyboard work. The pianist more than holds his own with this band of giants; his dazzling solo here is an emotional highlight.

Live albums, at their best, capture lightning in a bottle. Sanyas is rich with that feeling of electricity and spontaneity, a first-time meeting edged with risk-taking but stunning in the conversation between six masters. Turre praised the setting, Smoke Jazz Club, for its adherence to and celebration of the jazz tradition, but it’s clear from the excitement shared by band and audience alike that in his view, “tradition” doesn’t equate to a lack of adventure or challenge.

“There’s a difference between extending tradition and feeling the need to break with tradition,” he concludes. “I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to try to be different. You just have to be yourself, which is hard to do. That’s where the magic comes in.”

“Sanyas” was produced by Paul Stache,
and recorded live in New York at Smoke Jazz Club at 96KHz/24bit.
Available in audiophile HD format, on limited 180g LP, and on 8-panel digipak CD.

Steve Turre · Sanyas
Smoke Sessions Records · Release Date: June 28, 2024

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