Stanley Turrentine ‘Dearly Beloved’ (Blue Note) 4/5

Whether as a member of the classic Jimmy Smith combo on seminal albums such as ‘Midnight Special’ and ‘Back at the Chicken Shack’, or as a leader in his own right, Stanley Turrentine recorded his very best sides for Blue Note. In this 1961 recording, the group is pared down to a trio with then wife Shirley Scott on hammond organ and the excellent Roy Brooks on drums fresh from explorations in the Horace Silver band. It is a testimony to the ensemble playing that there is a depth to the overall sound and Scott would return to the trio format in the early-mid 1970s on albums for Cadet and Strata East respectively. The opener ‘Baia’, a Brazilian tune penned by Ary Barraso, was covered by John Coltrane and here Turrentine only plays a latin theme at the beginning and ending of the piece. He clearly knew how to play with the melody and extract the maximum from it. A trio of US songbook tunes including ‘My Shining Hour’ and ‘Yesterdays’ displays Turrentine’s ability to stretch out on a tune. Larry Young would in the mid-late 1960s take a leaf out of Shirley Scott’s dramatic style of playing. An all round effort from Stanley Turrentine who would continue to record the tenor-organ format for another few years.

Tim Stenhouse