Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 24, 2001

Pre-eminent Jazz Trombonist Steve Turre to Perform with Whitworth Jazz Ensemble

Steve Turre, a master jazz trombonist who has performed with the Saturday Night Live band since 1984, will join the award-winning Whitworth College Jazz Ensemble for an evening of Saturday night jazz.

Named trombonist of the year in 2000 by Down Beat magazine and described by Rolling Stone as "A powerful technician with soulful tone and quick wit," Turre has 10 CDs to his name and has performed and recorded since the late 1960s with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Woody Shaw and Max Roach.

Turre and the Whitworth College Jazz Ensemble, which has won first place at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival three times in the last five years, will perform Saturday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. in Cowles Auditorium at Whitworth College. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through G&B Select-A-Seat at (509) 325-SEAT, through the Whitworth Music Office at (509) 777-3280, or at the door the evening of the concert.

In addition to his Saturday evening performance, Turre will conduct a trombone clinic for Whitworth students and the general public on Friday, Nov. 9, at 5:15 p.m. in the Music Building, Room 112. Admission is free.

Turre began playing the trombone at the age of 10 and by 13 was performing gigs with his brothers in San Francisco. Five years later he began jamming with legendary saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who taught the young musician several formative lessons and was a major influence on Turre's musical development.

Turre recorded with Santana in 1970 and spent a year on the road with Ray Charles in 1972. The next year he toured with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He was a regular performer with Chico Hamilton for two years and then recorded with Kirk, worked a year with Slide Hampton's Collective Black Artists big band, and performed in Cedar Walton's quintet and Woody Shaw's quintet.

Turre joined the Saturday Night Live band in 1984 and Dizzy Gillespie's United Nations Orchestra in 1987. He also performs with Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and McCoy Tyner's Latin All-Stars.

Not only did Turre's mentor, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, help Turre discover his own style of improvisational expression as a trombonist; Kirk inspired Turre to take up another lesser-known instrument - the conch shells. Not one to play it safe as a musician, Turre has brought shells to prominence as a musical instrument. During live performances, Turre unpacks his suitcase full of seashells and, by blowing into the shells and using his hands to mute and alter their tones, performs tunes such as Miles Davis' "All Blues" with the skill of a symphonic virtuoso, according to writer Tom Surowicz in a 1998 Minneapolis Star Tribune review.

In the 1980s, Turre formed the Sanctified Shells, a small orchestra of New York and Caribbean brass musicians who also play modified seashells. He will wail on his self-designed conch shells at the Whitworth concert, treating the audience to what Rolling Stone has called "a robust sound that can be both eerie and serene."

During his career, Turre has released 10 CDs, including this year's TNT (Trombone-N-Tenor) and In The Spur Of The Moment (Telarc, 2000), which is divided into three segments of blues, modal jazz, and Latin jazz, with each segment featuring piano greats Ray Charles, Stephen Scott and Chucho Valdes.


Dan Keberle, professor of music and director of the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4582 or dkeberle@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

Related Links

Music Home Page > Department Spotlight >

Whitworth Press Release Index