Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on June 18, 1960
Although he is best known for his bluesy soul-jazz outings, tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine's first Blue Note session as a leader was a much more traditional bop affair, and the resulting album, Look Out!, featuring a rhythm section of Horace Parlan on piano, George Tucker on bass, and Al Harewood on drums, shows as much artful restraint as it does groove. Not that this is a bad thing, since it allows Turrentine's big, clear tone to shine through in all its muscular sweetness, giving Look Out! a wonderful and flowing coherence. Among the highlights here are the pretty ballad "Journey Into Melody" and the gently funky "Little Sheri."
All Music Guide
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Stanley Turrentine - Lookout!
In recent years we have had contingents of young musicians from Detroit, Memphis, and Indianapolis exert their influence on the national jazz scene. Now it is Pittsburgh's turn. Thanks to Mary Lou Williams, Erroll Garner, Dodo Marmarosa, Ray Brown, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, and Joe Harris, the Smoky City has been more than well represented in jazz for a long time. But I'm referring to some of the recent arrivals: the Turrentine brothers and Horace Parian, to be specific.
The Turrentine brother under scrutiny here is Stanley, born in "Steelville" on April 5, 1934. His father, Thomas Turrentine, played saxophone with Al Cooper's Savoy Sultans at one time, but gave up a promising career in music so that he could be at home with his children. If jazz lost one Turrentine, it has gained two, and possibly three, as a result. Trumpeter Thomas Jr., six years older than Stanley, was with Billy Eckstine's band briefly in the '40s, and has been heard more recently with his brother in Max Roach's group. A younger brother, Marvin (16), is studying drums.
Stanley began his instruction on the tenor sax at the age of 13 with his father as the teacher. After high school, in 1951, he got his first professional job with the blues band of Lowell Fulson. Ray Charles was the featured pianist and vocalist. "Some things he did would bring me to tears right on the bandstand, they were so moving," remembers Stan.
On leaving Fulson, Stan returned to Pittsburgh and studied for two years with Carl Arter, presently the president of A. F. M. local 471. In 1953, he moved to Cleveland with brother Tommy and both worked with Tadd Dameron. The following year, Stan replaced John Coltrane in Earl Bostic's band. Tommy joined six weeks later. Also with the band at different times during this period were Blue Mitchell, George Tucker, and G. T. Hogan. The year 1956 found him back in Pittsburgh for a short time, up to Bangor, Maine for a summer resort gig, and by December, a member of the 158th Army Band.
After being discharged, two years later, Stan again returned to Pittsburgh. In March, 1959, he joined Max Roach and remained with the drummer's combo until after an engagement
at New York's Jazz Gallery in May of 1960. Now he is living and playing in Philadelphia, where he plans to pursue further studies in harmony and theory with an eye toward expanding his writing activities.
Stan's original influences were Don Byas and Ben Webster; among the younger giants he prefers Sonny Rollins. While his playing is modern in line, its very sound is an older one. The result is an effective fusion of several elements resulting in a full, graceful tenor style that is masculine but not harsh; with a warmth that does not consume itself, but diffuses evenly throughout all his work.
The rhythm section is one that has been a permanent part of Lou Donaldson's group in 1960. This explains the reason for the acute rapport that exists among the individual players.
Stan has known Horace Parian since high school although they attended different ones in Pittsburgh. In the mid-fifties, they did some playing together before Horace left for New York and subsequent recognition as a member of the Charlie Mingus Jazz Workshop. The story of how Horace took up piano as a therapeutic device, after a childhood bout with polio had left his right hand paralyzed, has been told before. Amazing as his accomplishments are in the light of this, the final judgment of musical achievement is in how it sounds. Horace needs no "ifs" or "althoughs" to prop up his playing. His blues-rooted style is also, as Leonard Feather pointed out in the notes to his trio album [Movin' & Grooving Blue Note 4028), ". . . economical . . . with a touch and sense of time that ensures continuous swinging."
George Tucker is one of the rapidly rising young bassists in jazz. Strength with sensitivity is a combination that makes any rhythm player a standout. George has both qualities. Although born in Florida, he has been a New Yorker since 1948.
Al Harewood is a Brooklyn boy who has been heard with Jay and Kai and Gigi Gryce, among others. You always are aware of his presence but he never intrudes. Like Tucker, he concentrates on swinging and accomplishes his purpose.
"Look Out!" is a blues by Turrentine that gets into a good groove from the beginning and never looks to either side. "I like a straight-ahead rhythm section that plays for you," says Stan. This one does just that. Stan and Horace are the beneficiaries in their solo stints.
"Journey into Melody," by British composer Robert Farnan, is an extremely pretty ballad which I'm sure will be as new to most of you as it was to me. Stan became familiar with it through its use as the theme song for a radio show called "Tonight at 8" on station WWSW in Pittsburgh.
"Return Engagement" by Parian is up-tempo, but its attractive chord changes are given their full due by Stan. The swing is light but with a firm underpinning.
"Little Sheri" is Stan's dedication to his daughter. Its minor mood finds him funky with an underlying tenderness. Parian explores the tender side with his chordal technique.
Clifford Brown is remembered in "Tiny Capers." This is the first recording of it since the late trumpet great first did it. It has a joyous quality that Stan captures well.
"Minor Chant," another minor-key original by Turrentine, rounds out the set. Stan also recorded this tune as a sideman with Jimmy Smith for Blue Note. The "straight-ahead" rhythm section is swinging as much as at the beginning of the set, and bassist Tucker has a plucked solo for good measure.
This is another in the long series of Blue Note firsts - the presentation of new musicians who go on to make a mark in jazz. They have been right so often in the past, it is difficult to question their judgment. Stanley Turrentine's album is not a place one could start.
"Look out!" in jazz parlance, is a warning, but it is in the affirmative.
- Ira Gitler (from original liner notes)