Thomas Walter Turrentine, Jr. (April 22, 1928 – May 13, 1997) was a swing and hard bop trumpeter and composer who was active between the 1940s and the 1960s. He rarely worked as a bandleader, and was known for his work as a sideman with drummer Max Roach and his younger brother, the saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Turrentine played in the bands of Benny Carter, Earl Bostic, Charles Mingus, Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, and Count Basie. He later recorded with Sonny Clark, Lou Donaldson, and his brother Tommy's bands. His working relationship with Max Roach was spawned in part when he joined the Max Roach Quintet in the late 1950s. Turrentine was also adept on the piano at chord blockings and was a compositional exponent of Thelonious Monk's earlier chordal voicings. His bebop compositions combined a sophisticated and emotional fusion and poignant lyricism reminiscent of Benny Golson and with the passionate, spirited influence of the Clifford Brown/ Max Roach Quintet.
While his brother had a successful career and recorded a number of albums over his lifetime, Tommy only recorded one album under his name before retiring in the 1960s. In the 1970s he lived on the ground floor of a brownstone with his wife, Jane on West 82nd Street in New York City, a street which during that period had a number of jazz luminaries living along its blocks between Broadway and Central Park, including Tommy Flanagan and Pharoah Sanders.
Tommy Turrentine was rarely active after the 1970s. In the summer of 1979, he was one of several star trumpeters (including John Faddis and others) who appeared at the Village Gate for an all-star tribute to Blue Mitchell who died earlier that year. Turrentine also appeared on the 1989 album Blue Delight by keyboardist Sun Ra.
He died of cancer at the age of 69.
- 1960: Tommy Turrentine (Time Records, 1960) - with Stanley Turrentine, trombonist Julian Priester, pianist Horace Parlan, bassist Bob Boswell, drummer Max Roach
With Ahmed Abdul-Malik
With Paul Chambers
- 1st Bassman (VeeJay, 1960)
With Sonny Clark
- Leapin' and Lopin' (Blue Note, 1961)
With Lou Donaldson
With Booker Ervin
- The Book Cooks (Bethlehem, 1960)
With Dexter Gordon
- Landslide (Blue Note, 1961-62 )
With Rufus Jones
- Five on Eight (Cameo, 1964)
With Philly Joe Jones
- Mean What You Say (Sonet, 1977)
With Abbey Lincoln
- Abbey Is Blue (Riverside, 1959)
With Jackie McLean
- A Fickle Sonance (Blue Note, 1961)
With Horace Parlan
With John Patton
- Blue John (Blue Note, 1963)
With Max Roach
- Quiet as It's Kept (Mercury, 1959)
- Moon Faced and Starry Eyed (Mercury, 1959)
- Long as You're Living (Enja, 1960 )
- Parisian Sketches (Mercury, 1960)
With Archie Shepp
- Mama Too Tight (Impulse!, 1966)
With Sun Ra
- Blue Delight (A&M, 1989)
With Stanley Turrentine
- Comin' Your Way (Blue Note, 1961)
- Jubilee Shout!!! (Blue Note, 1962)
- A Bluish Bag (Blue Note, 1967)
- The Man with the Sad Face (Fantasy, 1976)