Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dizzy’s Night for Turner

In the 1970’s, the signature sound of jazz, was that of Creed Taylor’s CTI label. Its signature look was provided by photographer Pete Turner. Last night, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola celebrated the launch The Color of Jazz, a collection of Turner’s fine jazz album covers.

It was a rare opportunity to hear from Taylor, who paid tribute to his photographic collaborator, before an upbeat set of tasteful swing from Patrice Rushen, playing in an acoustic trio setting, featuring Terri Lynne Carrington on drums. Rushen’s Prestige sessions were clearly influenced by the commercial success of CTI, so in a way, she was a perfect choice to help celebrate Turner and Taylor, despite not recording as a leader for the label. She has also played with label stalwarts Stanley Turrentine and Hubert Laws on sessions they cut for other labels. While most of the set consisted of her own tunes, plus a Monk standard, they did tackle Freddie Hubbard’s CTI mainstay “Red Clay.”

Taylor was best known for lushly produced sessions, featuring large ensembles. His records had a warm sound, courtesy of engineer Rudy Van Gelder, which made for romantic listening. Turner produced the perfect visuals for CTI’s gatefold covers, complementing the sounds in the grooves inside. Unfortunately, his work has not translated well down to CD-size, where it has often also been covered by additional reissue graphics. Publication of Turner’s Color of Jazz will be an excellent opportunity to see Turner’s images as they were meant to be seen.