Stanley Turrentine – Salt Song {SONY}

Review by Steve Huey (

Stanley Turrentine’s stint with Creed Taylor’s CTI label may not have produced any out-and-out classics on the level of the very best LPs by Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, or George Benson, but the bluesy tenorist’s output was consistently strong and worthwhile for all but the most stridently anti-fusion listeners. Salt Song was Turrentine’s second album for CTI, and while it’s perhaps just a small cut below his debut Sugar, it’s another fine, eclectic outing that falls squarely into the signature CTI fusion sound: smooth but not slick, accessible but not simplistic. In general, keyboardist Eumir Deodato’s arrangements have plenty of light funk and Brazilian underpinnings, the latter often courtesy of percussionist Airto Moreira. The first three cuts are the most memorable, beginning with a ten-minute exploration of the abrupt time signature shifts of Freddie Hubbard’s “Gibraltar.” Though a hard bop version might have returned to the theme a little less often, Turrentine’s solo sections are full of ideas, befitting one of his favorite pieces of the period; plus, guitarist Eric Gale shines as both a rhythm and lead player. The traditional gospel tune “I Told Jesus” features Turrentine at his bluesiest and earthiest, with snatches of ethereal choir vocals floating up behind him. Milton Nascimento’s title track, naturally, has the strongest Brazilian flavor of the program, and Turrentine skillfully negotiates its frequent shifts in and out of double time. The 1997 CD reissue also includes Nascimento’s “Vera Cruz” as a bonus track. All in all, Salt Song has dated well, partly because the arrangements don’t overemphasize electric piano, but mostly on the strength of Turrentine’s always-soulful playing.

01 – Gibraltar
02 – I Told Jesus
03 – Salt Song
04 – I Haven’t Got Anything Better to Do
05 – Storm
06 – Vera Cruz (bonus)

Stanley Turrentine – tenor saxophone
Ron Carter, Russell George – bass
Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira – drums
Airto Moreira, Joao Palma, Dom Um Romao – percussion
Eumir Deodato, Horace Parlan, Richard Tee – piano/electric piano/organ
Eric Gale, Sivuca – guitar
Hubert Laws, George Marge, Romeo Penque, Jerome Richardson – flute
Julius Brand, Paul Gershman, Julie Held, Leo Kahn, Harry Katzman, Joe Malin – violin
Harold Coletta – viola
Charles McCracken, Alan Shulman – cello
Margaret Branch, Brenda Bryant, Patricia Smith – voices

Arranged and conducted by Eumir Deodato
Tracks 1-5 recorded at Van Gelder Studios, July 7 & 13, 1971
Track 6 recorded at Van Gelder Studios, April 23, 1971

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Oscar Castro Neves – Tropical Heart {JVC}[xrcd]

Review by @brianphoto, Manteca, CA (

Great Brazilian jazz. Oscar Castro Neves is known for his arrangements with major jazz musicians, most notably Laurindo Almeida and Sergio Mendes. Here you have a unique opportunity to listen to Neves on his own with his own group. All the selections are his own compositions. All but two tracks are instrumental. Of the two vocal track, the song “If The Dance Is Over” is my favorite. Original lyrics, a smooth arrangement and tremendous sonics make it a winner. As a whole, the album is very satisfying. JVC’s usual high quality remastering in their XRCD series is wonderfully spacious with a startling presence. If you enjoy Brazilian jazz, this is a great one.

01 – Holding With an Open Hand
02 – You Are My Romance
03 – New Hope
04 – If the Dance is Over
05 – Envelope
06 – I Still Do
07 – My Heart Surrenders
08 – Maya’s Gift
09 – I Have Seen tomorrow
10 – Jasmina’s Perfume
11 – Souvenirs
12 – Tropical Heart
13 – Lullaby for a Magical Child

Oscar Castro Neves – acoustic guitar, nylon string electric guitar, synthesizer, acoustic piano
Don Grusin – acoustic piano, sequencer programming on “Envelope”
Abraham Laboriel – bass
Alex Acuna – drums and percussion
Glen Garrett – woodwinds
Eric Gale – electric guitar
Kate Yanai Markowitz – vocal on “If the Dance is Over”, and background vocals
Bunny Hull – vocal on “Souvenirs”, and background vocals

Recorded and mixed at Ocean Way Studios, Hollywood, California; 1996.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork