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Rough 'N Tumble (1966)

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McCoy Tyner

In the mid- to late '60s, Blue Note was beginning to take on the affectations of funk and a new kind of "cool." For the most part, Turrentine steers clear of that style, and Rough 'n' Tumble is a pretty straight-ahead set, especially for 1966. "And Satisfy" and "Feelin' Good" typify the comfortable sessions, and both show off Turrentine's trademark tasteful playing. To its credit, Rough 'n' Tumble isn't rife with covers of songs that were doomed to be ephemeral, and Turrentine tackled two of the more lasting songs. His cover of Sam Cooke's "Shake" adheres closely to the original. Bacharach and David no doubt figured into jazz albums of the time, and "Walk On By" gets a suitably downcast reading here. The album's final track, the intricate "Baptismal," seems to get most of Turrentine's attention, and the song is perfect for his emotional yet poised playing technique. Rough 'n' Tumble features a great lineup of players, including Pepper Adams, Blue Mitchell, and McCoy Tyner. Rough 'n' Tumble isn't exactly a scintillating effort, but it is fun for the listener to hear Tyner and guitarist Grant Green nudging the genre toward the future, especially on "What Could I Do Without You." Of course, the star of the show is Turrentine, and his warmth and playing make this a necessity, especially for fans '60s pre-funk Blue Note jazz. ~ Jason Elias