July 9, 2009

Al Turner - Movin'

Welcome to Smoothvibes’ latest feature, What’s In Your Library?, where we will periodically select certain gems from our own respective libraries—albums or CDs that could be a few to several years old but that, in our opinion, should be in all smooth jazzers’ libraries. We hope that the column will direct some well-deserved light on a few artists and/or albums that may have flown under one’s radar screen. Enjoy!

Al Turner – Movin’

I don’t know if bassist Al Turner can be said to be flying entirely under most jazz fans’ radar, but he certainly had flown under mine. Until now. His latest album, Movin’, was released last year on the Megawave Records label . I just happened to stumble upon this gem at Amazon.com and decided to explore it. A very wise decision on my part, I must say.

While I may have missed him before now, Turner is certainly no stranger to the industry and many artists. A bassist since age 12, Turner has played with some of the brightest luminaries in the business (Earl Klugh—with whom he’s toured for 10 years—Randy Crawford, Kem, Anita Baker, Nancy Wilson, and Bob James for starters). Here on Movin’, Everette Harp, Paul Jackson, Jr., Oleta Adams, and Earl Klugh all drop by to lend their respectively highly respectable skills.

A bassist in a mold not unlike the late great Wayman Tisdale, Turner turns on the charm of his bass in a number of capturing pieces, ranging from mid-tempo sassy funksters like “Stop Watch,” “Bassin’,” and “Dreamin’” to the crankin’ up-tempo funk of the title track to more mellow in-the-zone tunes like “Te Quiero” and “Your Will” (featuring the sexy and provocative vocals of Oleta Adams).

Clearly an artist with the depth of insight and soul needed to infuse gravity in his material, Turner simply shines in this effort. There’s no wonder he’s been in demand by so many for so long. It’s always so refreshing to hear so much emphasis being afforded the bottom end of music. Cleverly and meticulously-laid bass lines are as important to me as a lead guitar riff or a sax solo, and Turner gets it done here almost effortlessly. More than worthy of a listen and, quite likely, a place in your collection.

Posted by Ronald Jackson at July 9, 2009 2:29 PM