Steve Turre, Trombonist
Steve Turre was born to Mexican-American parents and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area where he absorbed daily doses of mariachi, blues and jazz. While attending Sacramento State University, he joined the Escovedo Brothers salsa band, which began his career-long involvement with that genre.
In 1972, Ray Charles hired him to go on tour. Woody Shaw, his mentor, brought him into Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. After his tenure with Blakey, Turre began to work with a diverse list of musicians from the jazz, Latin, and pop worlds: Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, J.J. Johnson, Herbie Hancock, Lester Bowie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Van Morrison, Pharoah Sanders, Horace Silver, Max Roach, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Kirk introduced him to the seashell as an instrument.
As fate would have it, while touring in Mexico City with Woody Shaw, Turre's relatives told him that his ancestors played the shells too. Since then, he’s incorporated seashells into his diverse musical style.
Turre is known as a member of the Saturday Night Live Band, in which he’s played since 1984. He’s also led several ensembles. One of them, Sanctified Shells, uses the seashell in a larger context, and transforms his horn section into a "shell choir." Turre's Verve release, Lotus Flower, showcased his Sextet With Strings in the spring of 1999. The recording explored great standards and original compositions, all arranged by Turre with the unique instrumentation of trombone and shells, violin, cello, piano, bass and drums. In the Summer of 2000, Telarc released In The Spur of the Moment. This recording features Steve with three different quartets, each with a different and distinct master pianist: Ray Charles, Chucho Valdes, and Stephen Scott.
Turre is a very outspoken artist, unafraid to voice his displeasure with the political scene today, so along with a discussion about his life and career, his political point-of-view was also pursued.