Steve Turre

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Steve Turre
Steve Turre in 2010.jpg
Steve Turre performing in 2010
Background information
Birth name Stephen Johnson Turre
Born (1948-09-12) September 12, 1948 (age 67)
Omaha, Nebraska
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, arranger, educator, Trombonist
Instruments Trombone
conch shells
Years active 1970–present
Labels Verve, Telarc, HighNote
Associated acts Sanctified Shells, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Carlos Santana, Ray Charles

Steve Turre (né Stephen Johnson Turre; born September 12, 1948) is an American jazz trombonist, a pioneering musical seashell virtuoso, a composer, arranger, and educator at the collegiate-conservatory level who, for fifty-two years, has been active in jazz, rock, and Latin jazz – in live venues, recording studios, television, and cinema production.[1][2] As a studio musician, Turre is among the most prolific living jazz trombonist in the world.[3] As a member of a television orchestra, this is Turre's thirty-second year as trombonist with the Saturday Night Live Band.[4][5][6]

Career highlights[edit]

L to R: Big Sam Williams, Jeff Albert, Steve Turre, and Kirk Joseph

In 1968, Turre played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk; in 1970 he recorded with Carlos Santana; and in 1972 he toured with Ray Charles. He has been the trombonist for the Saturday Night Live band since 1985 and has taught jazz trombone at the Manhattan School of Music since 1988.

For forty-five years (since 1970), Turre has been an exponent of seashells – conch in particular – as serious musical instruments.[7] According to Turre, Kirk encouraged him when he began experimenting. Turre has a collection of shells of various sizes, most of which picked up by him during his travels in the Caribbean and elsewhere. The shells have their mouthpieces carefully cut and are tuned to specific pitches. When playing them as a soloist he frequently switches between shells, as each is limited in its register (the smallest shells, for example, have a practical register of only a fifth). His largest shell, from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, has a range between the D and E below middle C, and was painted by a Cuban artist. Turre also leads "Sanctified Shells," which is a "shell choir" made up of brass players who double on seashell (using shells from Turre's collection, which he loans out for rehearsals and performances). The group released its first, eponymous album in 1993.[8][9][10][11] Turre has had a long experience with Latin jazz, and is also a skilled player of the cowbell and Venezuelan maracas.

Turre has been a member of the Juilliard faculty for nine years – since 2008, and previously from 2001 to 2003.


Turre earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst through the University Without Walls in 1980 with a focus in Afro-American Music and Jazz.[12]


In 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2006 he won the Down Beat Reader's Poll for best trombonist.


Turre was raised in Lafayette, California (San Francisco Bay area). His father was of Sicilian ancestry and his mother was of Mexican ancestry. He began playing trombone at age ten, during his fourth grade in school.[13] In his early teens, he played in a band with his elder brother, Michael James Turre (born 1946), a saxophonist. Although he entered California State University, Sacramento,[14] on a football scholarship, he studied music theory there for two years before transferring to the University of North Texas College of Music, where he studied from 1968 to 1969 and played in a band led by Hannibal Peterson.

Turre was married to cellist Akua Dixon[15][16] (born 1948) from 1978 to 2012, with whom he had two children. He was formerly married (1970 in Dallas, Texas) to and divorced (1972 in San Francisco) from Susan J. Beard.

Steve Turre is one of four children born to the marriage of James Boles Turre (1921–1997) and Carmen Marie (née Johnson). His three siblings are (i) Michael James Turre (1946), (ii) Michele Anita Turre (born 1953), and (iii) Peter Joseph Turre (born 1957). Michael and Peter are musicians – saxophone-woodwinds and drums, respectively.


As leader[edit]

Year Album title Label OCLC
1987 Viewpoint Stash 18922356
1987 Viewpoints and Vibrations Stash 20714412
1988 Fire and Ice Stash 20176471
1989 Dedication JMT 57037029
1991 Right There Antilles 26215327
1993 Sanctified Shells Antilles 28310905
1995 Rhythm Within, with Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders Antilles 658353959
1997 Steve Turre Verve 37248623
1999 In The Spur of the Moment Telarc 45040043
1999 Lotus Flower Verve 406452520
2000 TNT (Trombone-N-Tenor) Telarc 50116787
2003 One4J: Paying Homage to J.J. Johnson Telarc 51833930
2004 The Spirits Up Above HighNote 57077598
2006 Keep Searchin' HighNote 488940684
2008 Rainbow People HighNote 223993800
2009 Spiritman: The Smoke Sessions Smoke Jazz
2010 Delicious and Delightful HighNote 646105087
2012 Woody's Delight HighNote 772189510
2013 The Bones of Art HighNote

As sideman[edit]

Year Artist leader Album title Turre's role OCLC
1996 Monty Alexander's Ivory & Steel To the Ends of the Earth Trombone 35583220
1999 Monty Alexander Stir It Up: The Music of Bob Marley Trombone, Conch 780949512
1992 Carl Allen Dark Side of Dewey Trombone, Shells 35090210
1993 Carl Allen Pursuer Trombone, Shells 30422672
2000 Eddie Allen Summer Days Trombone 47196641
1989 Laurie Anderson Strange Angels Trombone, Conch 24659935
1990 Art Ensemble of Chicago & Bowie's Brass Fantasy Live at the 6th Tokyo Music Joy Trombone, arranger, Conch 27039443
1972 Carlos Santana Caravanserai Trombone 53287067
1999 Carlos Santana Supernatural Trombone 41597695
2002 Art Ensemble of Chicago Rarum VI: Selected Recordings Trombone 50209195
2000 Ray Barretto Portraits in Jazz and Clave Trombone, Shells 44555369
2001 Andy Bey Tuesdays in Chinatown Trombone 48843923
1973 Art Blakey Anthenagin Trombone 6010133
1973 Art Blakey Mission Eternal, Vol. 2 Trombone 34188810
1999 Terence Blanchard Jazz in Film Trombone 41085300
2008 T.K. Blue Follow the North Star Trombone 728158158
2011 T.K. Blue Latinbird Trombone, Shells 703213949
1972 Jack Bonus Jack Bonus Trombone 30424964
1999 Jimmy Bosch Salsa Dura Trombone 65967385
1980 Lester Bowie Works Trombone 23446289
1985 Lester Bowie's Brass I Only Have Eyes for You Trombone 13282730
1986 Lester Bowie's Brass Avant Pop Trombone, arranger 41643527
1987 Lester Bowie Twilight Dreams Trombone 18196736
1989 Lester Bowie Serious Fun Trombone, arranger 50115826
1990 Lester Bowie My Way Trombone, arranger, Conch 55485290
1991 Lester Bowie's N.Y. Organ Ensemble Organizer Trombone 26480453
1991 Lester Bowie's N.Y. Organ Ensemble]] Funky T, Cool T Trombone 46429657
1992 Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy Fire This Time Arranger 33464553
1991 Don Braden Wish List Trombone 30373728
1992 Cecil Bridgewater I Love Your Smile Trombone 29063223
1996 Kenny Burrell & The Jazz Heritage All Stars Live at the Blue Note Trombone 35776997
1995 Henry Butler For All Seasons Trombone 34600953
1992 Mariah Carey MTV Unplugged Trombone
1996 The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band Carnegie Hall Jazz Band Trombone 35091921
1995 Regina Carter Regina Carter Trombone 32680128
2000 Cyrus Chestnut & Friends Charlie Brown Christmas Trombone, Shells 45200679
1993 Freddy Cole This is the Life Trombone 51520797
1987 Celia Cruz & Willie Colon Winners Trombone 212910790
1997 Michael Davis Absolute Trombone Trombone 40937627
1985 Deadline Down by Law Didjeridoo, Conch 21998535
2006 Mercan Dede Breath Shells 172985913
2006 Joshua Edelman Calle Del Rosario Trombone
2000 Lew Del Gatto Katewalk Trombone 473844747
1993 Charles Fambrough Blues at Bradley's Trombone, Shells 29348227
1991 Ricky Ford Hot Brass Trombone 27853139
1992 G. E. Smith & The SNL Band Get a Little Trombone, Conch 27666899
1990 Larry Gales Message from Monk Trombone 28340219
1989 Dizzy Gillespie & The United Nation Orchestra Live at the Royal Festival Hall Trombone, Bass Bone, Shells 27789084
2000 Dizzy Gillespie Live – Royal Festival Hall Trombone, Conch 67396329
1979 Jerry Gonzalez Ya Yo Me Cure Percussion, Trombone, Conch 21882458
1982 Jerry Gonzalez & the Fort Apache Band River is Deep Trombone, Bass Bone 9719353
1993 Johnny Griffin Quartet Dance of Passion Trombone 27835246
1989 Don Grolnick Complete Blue Note Recordings Trombone 39952910
1992 Don Grolnick Nighttown Trombone 27925558
1975 Chico Hamilton Peregrinations Bass, Trombone 8464533
1976 Chico Hamilton Chico Hamilton and the Players Bass (Electric), Bass T-bone
2001 Chico Hamilton Foreststorn Trombone, Guest Appearance 67681567
1979 Slide Hampton World of Trombones Trombone 5505976
1993 Slide Hampton & the Jazz Masters Dedicated to Diz Trombone 5505976
1996 Tom Harrell Labyrinth Trombone 35130103
2006 Stefon Harris African Tarantella Trombone 76171306
1998 Stefon Harris Cloud of Red Dust Trombone, Shells 40111079
1999 Stefon Harris Black Action Figure Trombone 42647967
2003 Stefon Harris Grand Unification Theory Trombone, Shells 51805851
1993 Antonio Hart For Cannonball & Woody Trombone 29577851
1998 Antonio Hart Collected Antonio Hart Trombone 52331640
2007 Marion Hayden Visions Trombone
1981 Terumasa Hino Double Rainbow Didjeridoo 28289611
1999 Yoron Israel Connection Live at the Blue Note Trombone, Shells 47749181
1960 J.J. Johnson Sextet J.J. Inc. Liner Notes 37650081
1996 J.J. Johnson Brass Orchestra Trombone 37826339
1999 Etta Jones Sammy Cahn: All the Way Trombone 45038875
2004 Etta Jones Always in Our Hearts Trombone 55646400
1997 K-Jazz All Stars Y Amigos Spirit Talk Trombone, Shells 56189516
1973 Rahsaan Roland Kirk Man Who Cried Fire Trombone 23466216
1976 Rahsaan Roland Kirk Simmer, Reduce, Garnish & Serve Trombone 33180254
1976 Rahsaan Roland Kirk Kirkatron Trombone 3660523
1977 Rahsaan Roland Kirk Boogie-Woogie String Along for Real Trombone 62275276
1998 Rahsaan Roland Kirk Standing Eight Trombone 41113094
2000 Rahsaan Roland Kirk Incontournables Trombone
2002 Lenine Falange Canibal Trombone, Shells 51716963
1998 Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom Greaze Is What's Good Trombone, Shells 46644588
2005 Babatunde Lea Suite Unseen: Summoner of the Ghost Trombone, Shells 61484060
1985 Carmen Lundy Good Morning Kiss Trombone 15872652
2005 Carmen Lundy Jazz & the New Songbook, Live at the Madrid Trombone 774918249
1989 Machete Ensemble Africa, Vol. 1 Trombone 23672372
2010 John Santos Filosofia Caribena, Vol. 1 Trombone 777668371
1999 Howard Mandel Future Jazz Trombone 39477839
2006 Marco Marzola Important Life Trombone
1994 Christian McBride Getting' to It Trombone 31922436
1998 Chico Mendoza Chico Mendoza & the Latin Jazz Dream Band Trombone
1997 Mingus Big Band Que Viva Mingus! Trombone, Shells 38446221
1988 Ralph Moore Rejuvenate Trombone, Conch 31693624
2001 David "Fathead" Newman Keep the Spirits Singing Trombone 53040367
1986 James Newton Romance and Revolution Trombone 16222377
1997 Nuyorican Soul Nuyorican Soul Percussion, Trombone 36781348
1999 Manny Oquendo & Libre Ahora Trombone, Plunger Mute 593795119
1983 [Manny Oquendo & Libre Ritmo, Sonido, y Estilo Trombone, Shells 33085784
2001 Jann Parker Voicings Shells
1998 Joe Pesci Vincent Laguardia Gambini Sings Trombone 40426777
1987 Daniel Ponce Arawe Trombone 21253691
1997 Tito Puente 50 Years of Swing: 50 Great Years Trombone 37249418
1995 Tito Puente Tito's Idea Trombone, performer 33231201
2003 Phil Ranelin Close Encounter of the Very Best Kind Trombone, Shells 55998177
1989 Lou Rawls At Last Trombone, Soloist, Conch 20124757
1989 Lou Rawls Ballads Trombone 178691047
1990 Lou Rawls It's Supposed to Be Fun Trombone 22753722
1992 Lou Rawls Legendary Lou Rawls Trombone 25709679
1993 Max Roach Max Roach & New Orchestra of Boston Trombone 34980667
2000 Nick Rolfe Persuader Trombone 48574591
2002 Renee Rosnes Life on Earth Trombone 48963483
1990 Gabrielle Roth Ritual Trombone, Shells 28197471
1996 Gabrielle Roth Stillpoint Seashells, Dijeridoo 53449918
1993 Vanessa Rubin Pastiche Seashells, Dijeridoo 28116965
1995 Vanessa Rubin Vanessa Rubin Sings Trombone 42560595
1984 Hilton Ruiz Cross Currents Trombone, Conch 32437748
1986 Hilton Ruiz Ensemble Something Grand Trombone, arranger 17230739
1993 Hilton Ruiz Heroes Trombone, Bells, Seashells 33290631
1981 Pharoah Sanders Rejoice Trombone 27251535
1989 John Scofield Best of John Scofield Trombone
1995 John Scofield Groove Elation Trombone 33482305
2000 John Scofield Steady Groovin' Trombone 45625306
1992 Charlie Sepulveda Algo Nuestro (Our Thing) Trombone 28550611
2005 Naima Shamborguer From My Heart to Yours Trombone 190772861
1974 Woody Shaw The Moontrane Trombone 6431690
1975 Woody Shaw Love Dance Trombone 4766584
1977 Woody Shaw Rosewood Trombone 40999163
1978 Woody Shaw Woody III Trombone 5714135
1980 Woody Shaw For Sure! Trombone, Trombone (Bass) 7436717
1981 Woody Shaw United Trombone 8630672
1982 Woody Shaw Lotus Flower Trombone, Trombone (Bass) 9149433
1982 Woody Shaw Master of the Art Percussion, Trombone 9171962
1982 Woody Shaw Night Music Trombone 12917626
1983 Woody Shaw The Time Is Right Trombone 38479081
1987 Woody Shaw Imagination Trombone, Shells 55619930
2001 Woody Shaw Woody Shaw Live Volume Two Trombone 50118393
2002 Woody Shaw Woody Shaw Live Volume Three Trombone 53995035
2005 Woody Shaw Woody Shaw Live Volume Four Trombone 62163736
1979 Archie Shepp Attica Big Band Trombone
1996 Archie Shepp Attica Blues Big Band Trombone
1996 Horace Silver Hardbop Grandpop Trombone, arranger 35091908
1972 Paul Simon Paul Simon Shells 55766490
1992 Hal Singer No Rush Trombone 716539328
1993 The Skatalites Ska Voovee Trombone
1994 The Skatalites Hi-Bop Ska Trombone
1996 The Skatalites Greetings from Skamania Trombone
1996 Carol Sloane Songs Sinatra Sang Trombone 35583202
2001 Carol Sloane Ballad Essentials Trombone 48051803
2001 Harold Smith Valley of Sacred Sound Trombone, Shells 471584751
1987 Bob Stewart First Line Trombone, Shells 57037001
1988 Bob Stewart Goin' Home Trombone 57037034
1996 Bob Stewart Then & Now Trombone 36503030
2005 Monnette Sudler Meeting of the Spirits Trombone 502292482
1997 Swing Summit Passing the Torch, Vol. 2 Trombone, Shells 49414196
2002 Juan Pablo Torres Together Again Trombone 50450768
2005 Billy Taylor Taylor Made at the Kennedy Center Trombone 76952165
1991 The Timeless All Stars Time for the Timeless All Stars Trombones, Shells 34221280
1970 James Trumbo Peace Before We Die Trombone 38471133
1988 McCoy Tyner Big Band Uptown/Downtown Trombone 20516331
1991 Tyner Big Band Turning Point Trombone
1993 McCoy Tyner Big Band Journey Trombone, arranger 29991637
1999 McCoy Tyner Big Band McCoy Tyner and the Latin All-Stars Trombone, Shells 41402094
2000 McCoy Tyner Les Incontournables Trombone
2002 McCoy Tyner Big Band Best of McCoy Tyner Big Band (compilation) Trombone, arranger 51539527
1992 Dave Valentin Red Sun Trombone, Shells 28685980
1986 Jack Walrath Master of Suspense Trombone 20705131
1978 Cedar Walton Animation Trombone, Trombone (Bass) 6308635
1986 Cedar Walton with Ron Carter Cedar Walton Plays Trombone 17901467
1993 Cedar Walton Art Blakey Legacy Trombone 716579513
1998 Cedar Walton Bambino: Plays Music of Art Blakey Trombone 43399293
1980 Cedar Walton Soundscapes Trombone 7096387
2011 Cedar Walton The Bouncer Trombone 763300919
1992 Bobby Watson Tailor Made Trombone 28368074
1990 Fred Wesley New Friends Trombone 24074188
1993 Frank Wess Tryin' To Make My Blues Turn Green Trombone, Shells, Conch 30607443
2008 Frank Wess Once is Not Enough Trombone 456745706
1990 Paul Winter Consort Earth: Voices of a Planet Didjeridoo 22219068
1996 Original Soundtrack Ed's Next Move Trombone 35840961
1985 Various Artists New Africa, Vol. 2 Shells 22583566
1989 Various Artists 15th Anniversary Stash Sampler Trombone, arranger 28118589
1990 Various Artists Beets Conch 27683641
1990 Various Artists For Real Moments: Song and Dances Trombone 27363545
1991 Various Artists Best of Jazz Music Today Performer 22998043
1992 Various Artists Blue Vocals, Vol. 1 Trombone 28446775
1993 Various Artists Music of Rahsaan Roland Kirk Trombone, arranger, producer 16876213
1994 Various Artists Jazz Showcase Trombone 30715560
1994 Various Artists Carnegie Hall Salutes the Jazz Masters Trombone, Shells, performer 30858408
1994 Various Artists Cole Porter in Concert: Just One of Those Things Trombone 31365642
1995 Various Artists Jazz Trumpet: Trumpeter’s Holiday Trombone 37765928
1995 Various Artists The Art of Jazz: Best Loved Standards Trombone 52598737
1995 Various Artists The Art of Jazz: Sentimental Ballads (1995) Trombone 36745094
1995 Various Artists The Art of Jazz: Standards Trombone
1995 Various Artists Jazz Á Go-Go Percussion, Trombone
1996 Various Artists Back to the Basics, Vol. 1 Trombone 44974904
1996 Various Artists Original Jazz Masters Series: Vol. 5 Trombone 37873623
1996 Various Artists Panasonic Village Jazz Festival Arranger, performer 795309704
1996 Various Artists Jazz Ballads Trombone
1997 Various Artists It's Monk's Tune Trombone 37339295
1997 Various Artists Eastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall Trombone 49423102
1997 Swing Summit Passing the Torch, Vol 1 Trombone, Conch 49414195
1997 Various Artists Latin Jazz: Con Gusto Trombone 42965698
2009 John Farnsworth Sextet The Smoke Sessions Trombone
1996 Various Artists Prelude to a Kiss: The Duke Ellington Album Trombone 35802009
2006 Chembo Corniel Beyond Standards Trombone 184724916
2009 Peppe Merolla Stick With Me Trombone, Shells
2010 Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble Blueprints Trombone, Shells 707682567


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       Vol. 13: Sep. 1982–Aug. 1984 (1984); OCLC 31441138
       Vol. 15: Sep. 1986–Aug. 1988 (1988); OCLC 30326307
       Vol. 19: Sep. 1993–Aug. 1994 (1994); OCLC 31703875
       Vol. 23: Sep. 1997–Aug. 1998 (1998)
       Vol. 26: Sep. 2000–Aug. 2001 (2001)
       Vol. 27: Sep. 2001–Aug. 2002 (2002); OCLC 51500525
       Vol. 29: Sep. 2003–Aug. 2004 (2004)
       Vol. 30: Sep. 2004–Aug. 2005 (2005)
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  5. ^ The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies, by Leonard Feather & Ira Gitler, New York: Horizon Press (1976); OCLC 2698149
  6. ^ Jazz Profiles. The spirit of the nineties, by Reginald Carver and Lenny Bernstein, New York: Billboard Books (1998); OCLC 39391196
  7. ^ "Steve Turre: l’homme à la conque" ("The Man With the Conch"), by Romain Grosman, Paris: Jazz hot, No. 538, pg. 21 (March 1997); ISSN 0021-5643
  8. ^ "Steve Turre Sounds the Trumpet: Ah, Make that Trombone and Conch," by Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe January 19, 1993; ISSN 0743-1791
  9. ^ All Music Guide to Jazz
       2nd ed., Michael Erlewine (ed.); OCLC 35201244
       4th ed., Vladimir Bogdanov, Christopher J. Woodstra (born 1969), Stephen Thomas Erlewine (eds.) (1996); OCLC 50477109
  10. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Barry Dean Kernfeld, Stanley Sadie
       1st ed. (1988); OCLC 16804283
       3rd imprent of 1st ed. (1994); OCLC 30516743
       2nd ed. (2002); OCLC 46956628
  11. ^ Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Turre is in Vol. 6 of 6), Macmillan; Schirmer
       9th ed, Laura Diane Kuhn (ed.) (born 1953) (2001); OCLC 44972043
  12. ^ "An Interview with Steve Turre," by Bob Bernotas (né Robert W. Bernotas; born 1955), Online Trombone Journal, 1994
  13. ^ Gary L. Firstenberg (born 1957), "Steve Turre: Still Searchin'", All About Jazz
  14. ^ "SAC Alumni Are Going Places: Steve Turre", SAC State Magazine, (Sacramento State University) (Spring 2012) pg. 8; OCLC 123129729
  15. ^ Black Women in American Bands and Orchestras, by Dorothy Antoinette Handy (née Miller; born 1930), Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press (1981); OCLC 6555037, 251785411 and 833330629
  16. ^ In Black and White – A Guide to Magazine Articles, Newspaper Articles, and Books Concerning Black Individuals and Groups, Third edition, Supplement, Mary Elizabeth Mace Spradling (1911–2009) (ed.), Detroit: Gale Research (1985); OCLC 12286145

External links[edit]