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Mr. Natural (1964)

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Elvin Jones

The music on this long available LP was recorded in 1964 but remained unreleased until it came out as a part of a series of drably packaged records that only were available briefly in the early 1980s. Stanley Turrentine's supporting cast is a strong one, including Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Bob Cranshaw, Elvin Jones, and Ray Barretto. The leader's "Stanley's Blues" is a modal blues with a slight Latin flavor from Barretto's congas, while "Shirley" is a sauntering bossa nova. Morgan contributed the upbeat Latin blues "Tacos," while Turrentine reaches his peak as a soloist on the somewhat obscure song "My Girl is Just Enough for Me" (written by Dorothy Fields). But the biggest surprise is Turrentine's driving arrangement of the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love"; unlike many lukewarm jazz covers of their mid-1960s hits, the tenor saxophonist completes its transformation into a very viable jazz vehicle. Although long out of print and an unlikely candidate to be reissued on CD, this rewarding session is well worth seeking, even if Blue Note founder Alfred Lion had second thoughts about it and set it aside. ~ Ken Dryden