1. Don't Mess With Mr. T
2. A Little Sweetness
3. I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do
5. Terrible T.
6. The Island
8. Side Steppin'
Stanley Turrentine - Tenor sax
Kenny Drew Jr. - Piano, B3 organ, keyboards
Dave Stryker - Guitar
Dwayne Dolphin - Bass (acoustic & electric)
Mark Johnson - Drums
Alfredo Mojica - Percussion
The word "soulful" is often used to describe the music played by Stanley Turrentine. He was, in fact, the master of a tenor sax tone that commanded notice and the personification of the muscular tenor stylists of the swing era. In this outing, originally recorded in 1995, Turrentine rolls along in vintage fashion in a familiar small group setting.
The eight tunes on the album are from a variety of sources including several original Turrentine compositions. The lead track is a Marvin Gaye piece of music especially written for Turrentine and entitled Don't Mess With Mr. T. This is the perfect embodiment of the Turrentine sound with his infectious playing leading the way and Kenny Drew Jr. rocking on the Hammond B3. The three Turrentine originals are A Little Sweetness, Terrible T. and Touching. Now while none of these compositions is likely to enter the jazz world's pantheon of immortal tunes, they nevertheless give Turrentine and the group a chance to show their cohesive skills with Kenny Drew Jr. particularly effective, and all done in the leader's identifiable style.
I Haven't Got Anything Better To Do focuses on the mellow side of Turrentine's playing and is the perfect romantic ballad for late-night listening or dancing "le slow". The John Coltrane composition Impressions is an up-tempo dazzler and alone is worth the price of admission. In a change of pace, The Island is a Latin-flavoured piece where Turrentine delivers a captivating sound and Drew Jr. has some fine solo time. The closer is guitarist Dave Stryker's composition Side Steppin' and quite naturally he has seen fit to give himself plenty of room to show off his chops; all the while Turrentine's hot bluesy sax roams at will.
If big, bold, ballsy tenor men are your thing, then Stanley Turrentine is the man.
See also a review by Tony Augarde