Stanley Turrentine

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Stanley Turrentine
Turrentine in 1976
Turrentine in 1976
Background information
Born(1934-04-05)April 5, 1934
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedSeptember 12, 2000(2000-09-12) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Instrument(s)Tenor saxophone
Years active1959–2000
Spouse(s)Shirley Scott

Stanley William Turrentine (April 5, 1934 – September 12, 2000)[1] was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He began his career playing R&B for Earl Bostic and later soul jazz recording for the Blue Note label from 1960, touched on jazz fusion during a stint on CTI in the 1970s.[2] He was described by critic Steve Huey as "renowned for his distinctively thick, rippling tone [and] earthy grounding in the blues."[3] In the 1960s Turrentine was married to organist Shirley Scott, with whom he frequently recorded, and he was the younger brother of trumpeter Tommy Turrentine, with whom he also recorded.[4]

Turrentine at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, Half Moon Bay, California, August 13, 1989


Turrentine was born in Pittsburgh's Hill District, United States,[1] into a musical family. His father, Thomas Turrentine Sr., was a saxophonist with Al Cooper's Savoy Sultans,[5] his mother played stride piano, and his older brother Tommy Turrentine was a trumpet player.[4]

He began his prolific career with blues and rhythm and blues bands, and was at first greatly influenced by Illinois Jacquet.[4] He first toured with Lowell Fulson's band in 1951, at 17,[4] and in 1953 Earl Bostic asked him to join his band, replacing John Coltrane.[4] He also played in groups led by the pianist and composer Tadd Dameron.[2]

Turrentine received his only formal musical training during his military stint in the mid-1950s. In 1959, he left the military and went straight into the band of the drummer Max Roach.[5]

He married the organist Shirley Scott in 1960 and the two frequently played and recorded together.[5] In the 1960s, he started working with organist Jimmy Smith, and made many soul jazz recordings both with Smith and as a leader.[5]

Scott and Turrentine divorced in 1971. Turrentine turned to jazz fusion and signed for Creed Taylor's CTI label.[2] His first album for CTI, Sugar, recorded in 1970, proved one of his biggest successes and a seminal recording for the label,[5] closely followed by Don't Mess with Mister T. (1971). He worked with Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, George Benson, Bob James, Richard Tee, Idris Muhammad, Ron Carter, Grant Green and Eric Gale. He returned to soul jazz in the 1980s and into the 1990s.

Turrentine lived in Fort Washington, Maryland, from the early 1990s until his death.

He died of a stroke in New York City on September 12, 2000, aged 66, and was buried in Pittsburgh's Allegheny Cemetery.[1]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nowlin, Rick (September 13, 2000). "Obituary: Hill District-born jazz great Turrentine dies". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "Stanley Turrentine". The Daily Telegraph. September 25, 2000. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. "Stanley Turrentine | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e NPR's 'Jazz Profiles': "Stanley Turrentine: Saxophone 'Sugar Man'." NPR. Retrieved 7th December 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1196. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.

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