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The Complete Blue Hour Sessions (1960)

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The 3 Sounds

Stanley Turrentine & the Three Sounds were initially featured together on an album called Blue Hour, which was a very relaxed and bluesy release. The spaciousness of "I Want a Little Girl" makes the listener savor every note, while "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" is played with an almost identical tempo and feeling. Gene Harris' "Blue Riff" picks up the pace a good bit, before "Since I Fell for You" and "Willow Weep for Me" once again slow the proceedings back to a late-night feeling. Turrentine's tenor sax is in top form, while Harris is the consummate blues pianist in his supporting role. After the first CD reissue of Blue Hour went out of print, it was expanded into a two-CD set by Blue Note, with eight new unissued or alternate takes added on the second disc. It is apparent right away that the original producer Alfred Lion was correct in withholding most of these recordings from release. As well as Turrentine plays during "Blues in the Closet," the rhythm section seems a bit stiff. Harris' piano is too much in the background on "Just in Time," while the pianist's composition "Blue Hour" doesn't seem to be fully formed as a blues vehicle. "Strike Up the Band" is the one truly up-tempo recording present on this release, but probably wasn't issued previously because it is faded prematurely and it was so different from the producer's concept for the originally conceived release. Regardless, since both Stanley Turrentine and Gene Harris passed away within a year of each other in 2000, having additional music made available featuring these two fine musicians is most welcome. ~ Ken Dryden