Tommy Turrentine

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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.[1]


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.[2]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Ahmed Abdul-Malik

With Paul Chambers

With Sonny Clark

With Lou Donaldson

With Booker Ervin

With Dexter Gordon

With Rufus Jones

With Philly Joe Jones

With Abbey Lincoln

With Jackie McLean

With Horace Parlan

With John Patton

With Max Roach

With Archie Shepp

With Sun Ra

With Stanley Turrentine