Steve Turre

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Steve Turre
Steve Turre in 2010.jpg
Steve Turre performing in 2010
Background information
Birth nameStephen Johnson Turre
Born(1948-09-12) September 12, 1948 (age 66)
Omaha, Nebraska
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger, educator, Trombonist
conch shells
Years active1970–present
LabelsVerve, Telarc, HighNote
Associated actsSanctified Shells, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Carlos Santana, Ray Charles
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Steve Turre
Steve Turre in 2010.jpg
Steve Turre performing in 2010
Background information
Birth nameStephen Johnson Turre
Born(1948-09-12) September 12, 1948 (age 66)
Omaha, Nebraska
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger, educator, Trombonist
conch shells
Years active1970–present
LabelsVerve, Telarc, HighNote
Associated actsSanctified Shells, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Carlos Santana, Ray Charles

Steve Turre (né Stephen Johnson Turre; born September 12, 1948) is an American jazz trombonist, a pioneering musical seashell virtuoso, a composer, arranger, and educator at the collegiate-conservatory level who, for fifty-one years, has been active in jazz, rock, and Latin jazz – in live venues, recording studios, television, and cinema production.[1][2] As a studio musician, Turre is among the most prolific living jazz trombonist in the world.[3] As a member of a television orchestra, this is Turre's thirty-first year as trombonist with the Saturday Night Live Band.[4][5][6]

Career highlights[edit]

L to R: Big Sam Williams, Jeff Albert, Steve Turre, and Kirk Joseph

In 1968, Turre played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk; in 1970 he recorded with Carlos Santana; and in 1972 he toured with Ray Charles. He has been the trombonist for the Saturday Night Live band since 1985 and has taught jazz trombone at the Manhattan School of Music since 1988.

For forty-four years (since 1970), Turre has been an exponent seashells – conch in particular – as serious musical instruments.[7] According to Turre, Kirk encouraged him when he began experimenting. Turre has a collection of shells of various sizes, most of which picked up by him during his travels in the Caribbean and elsewhere. The shells have their mouthpieces carefully cut and are tuned to specific pitches. When playing them as a soloist he frequently switches between shells, as each is limited in its register (the smallest shells, for example, have a practical register of only a fifth). His largest shell, from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, has a range between the D and E below middle C, and was painted by a Cuban artist. Turre also leads "Sanctified Shells," which is a "shell choir" made up of brass players who double on seashell (using shells from Turre's collection, which he loans out for rehearsals and performances). The group released its first, eponymous album in 1993.[8][9][10][11] Turre has had a long experience with Latin jazz, and is also a skilled player of the cowbell and Venezuelan maracas.

Turre has been a member of the Juilliard faculty for eight years – since 2008, and previously from 2001 to 2003.


Turre earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst through the University Without Walls in 1980 with a focus in Afro-American Music and Jazz.[12]


In 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2006 he won the Down Beat Reader's Poll for best trombonist.


Turre was raised in Lafayette, California (San Francisco Bay area). His father was of Sicilian ancestry and his mother was of Mexican ancestry. He began playing trombone at age ten, during his fourth grade in school.[13] In his early teens, he played in a band with his elder brother, Michael James Turre (born 1946), a saxophonist. Although he entered California State University, Sacramento,[14] on a football scholarship, he studied music theory there for two years before transferring to the University of North Texas College of Music, where he studied from 1968 to 1969 and played in a band led by Hannibal Peterson.

Turre was married to cellist Akua Dixon[15][16] (born 1948) from 1978 to 2012, with whom he had two children. He was formerly married (1970 in Dallas, Texas) to and divorced (1972 in San Francisco) from Susan J. Beard.

Steve Turre is one of four children born to the marriage of James Boles Turre (1921–1997) and Carmen Marie (née Johnson). His three siblings are (i) Michael James Turre (1946), (ii) Michele Anita Turre (born 1953), and (iii) Peter Joseph Turre (born 1957). Michael and Peter are musicians – saxophone-woodwinds and drums, respectively.


As leader[edit]

YearAlbum titleLabelOCLC
1987Viewpoints and VibrationsStash20714412
1988Fire and IceStash20176471
1991Right ThereAntilles26215327
1993Sanctified ShellsAntilles28310905
1995Rhythm Within, with Herbie Hancock, Pharoah SandersAntilles658353959
1997Steve TurreVerve37248623
1999In The Spur of the MomentTelarc45040043
1999Lotus FlowerVerve406452520
2000TNT (Trombone-N-Tenor)Telarc50116787
2003One4J: Paying Homage to J.J. JohnsonTelarc51833930
2004The Spirits Up AboveHighNote57077598
2006Keep Searchin'HighNote488940684
2008Rainbow PeopleHighNote223993800
2009The Smoke SessionsSmoke Jazz
2010Delicious and DelightfulHighNote646105087
2012Woody's DelightHighNote772189510
2013The Bones of ArtHighNote

As sideman[edit]

YearArtist leaderAlbum titleTurre's roleOCLC
1996Monty Alexander's Ivory & SteelTo the Ends of the EarthTrombone35583220
1999Monty AlexanderStir It Up: The Music of Bob MarleyTrombone, Conch780949512
1992Carl AllenDark Side of DeweyTrombone, Shells35090210
1993Carl AllenPursuerTrombone, Shells30422672
2000Eddie AllenSummer DaysTrombone47196641
1989Laurie AndersonStrange AngelsTrombone, Conch24659935
1990Art Ensemble of Chicago & Bowie's Brass FantasyLive at the 6th Tokyo Music JoyTrombone, arranger, Conch27039443
1972Carlos SantanaCaravanseraiTrombone53287067
1999Carlos SantanaSupernaturalTrombone41597695
2002Art Ensemble of ChicagoRarum VI: Selected RecordingsTrombone50209195
2000Ray BarrettoPortraits in Jazz and ClaveTrombone, Shells44555369
2001Andy BeyTuesdays in ChinatownTrombone48843923
1973Art BlakeyAnthenaginTrombone6010133
1973Art BlakeyMission Eternal, Vol. 2Trombone34188810
1999Terence BlanchardJazz in FilmTrombone41085300
2008T.K. BlueFollow the North StarTrombone728158158
2011T.K. BlueLatinbirdTrombone, Shells703213949
1972Jack BonusJack BonusTrombone30424964
1999Jimmy BoschSalsa DuraTrombone65967385
1980Lester BowieWorksTrombone23446289
1985Lester Bowie's BrassI Only Have Eyes for YouTrombone13282730
1986Lester Bowie's BrassAvant PopTrombone, arranger41643527
1987Lester BowieTwilight DreamsTrombone18196736
1989Lester BowieSerious FunTrombone, arranger50115826
1990Lester BowieMy WayTrombone, arranger, Conch55485290
1991Lester Bowie's N.Y. Organ EnsembleOrganizerTrombone26480453
1991Lester Bowie's N.Y. Organ Ensemble]]Funky T, Cool TTrombone46429657
1992Lester Bowie's Brass FantasyFire This TimeArranger33464553
1991Don BradenWish ListTrombone30373728
1992Cecil BridgewaterI Love Your SmileTrombone29063223
1996Kenny Burrell & The Jazz Heritage All StarsLive at the Blue NoteTrombone35776997
1995Henry ButlerFor All SeasonsTrombone34600953
1992Mariah CareyMTV UnpluggedTrombone
1996The Carnegie Hall Jazz BandCarnegie Hall Jazz BandTrombone35091921
1995Regina CarterRegina CarterTrombone32680128
2000Cyrus Chestnut & FriendsCharlie Brown ChristmasTrombone, Shells45200679
1993Freddy ColeThis is the LifeTrombone51520797
1987Celia Cruz & Willie ColonWinnersTrombone212910790
1997Michael DavisAbsolute TromboneTrombone40937627
1985DeadlineDown by LawDidjeridoo, Conch21998535
2006Mercan DedeBreathShells172985913
2006Joshua EdelmanCalle Del RosarioTrombone
2000Lew Del GattoKatewalkTrombone473844747
1993Charles FambroughBlues at Bradley'sTrombone, Shells29348227
1991Ricky FordHot BrassTrombone27853139
1992G. E. Smith & The SNL BandGet a LittleTrombone, Conch27666899
1990Larry GalesMessage from MonkTrombone28340219
1989Dizzy Gillespie & The United Nation OrchestraLive at the Royal Festival HallTrombone, Bass Bone, Shells27789084
2000Dizzy GillespieLive – Royal Festival HallTrombone, Conch67396329
1979Jerry GonzalezYa Yo Me CurePercussion, Trombone, Conch21882458
1982Jerry Gonzalez & the Fort Apache BandRiver is DeepTrombone, Bass Bone9719353
1993Johnny Griffin QuartetDance of PassionTrombone27835246
1989Don GrolnickComplete Blue Note RecordingsTrombone39952910
1992Don GrolnickNighttownTrombone27925558
1975Chico HamiltonPeregrinationsBass, Trombone8464533
1976Chico HamiltonChico Hamilton and the PlayersBass (Electric), Bass T-bone
2001Chico HamiltonForeststornTrombone, Guest Appearance67681567
1979Slide HamptonWorld of TrombonesTrombone5505976
1993Slide Hampton & the Jazz MastersDedicated to DizTrombone5505976
1996Tom HarrellLabyrinthTrombone35130103
2006Stefon HarrisAfrican TarantellaTrombone76171306
1998Stefon HarrisCloud of Red DustTrombone, Shells40111079
1999Stefon HarrisBlack Action FigureTrombone42647967
2003Stefon HarrisGrand Unification TheoryTrombone, Shells51805851
1993Antonio HartFor Cannonball & WoodyTrombone29577851
1998Antonio HartCollected Antonio HartTrombone52331640
2007Marion HaydenVisionsTrombone
1981Terumasa HinoDouble RainbowDidjeridoo28289611
1999Yoron Israel ConnectionLive at the Blue NoteTrombone, Shells47749181
1960J.J. Johnson SextetJ.J. Inc.Liner Notes37650081
1996J.J. JohnsonBrass OrchestraTrombone37826339
1999Etta JonesSammy Cahn: All the WayTrombone45038875
2004Etta JonesAlways in Our HeartsTrombone55646400
1997K-Jazz All Stars Y AmigosSpirit TalkTrombone, Shells56189516
1973Rahsaan Roland KirkMan Who Cried FireTrombone23466216
1976Rahsaan Roland KirkSimmer, Reduce, Garnish & ServeTrombone33180254
1976Rahsaan Roland KirkKirkatronTrombone3660523
1977Rahsaan Roland KirkBoogie-Woogie String Along for RealTrombone62275276
1998Rahsaan Roland KirkStanding EightTrombone41113094
2000Rahsaan Roland KirkIncontournablesTrombone
2002LenineFalange CanibalTrombone, Shells51716963
1998Ron Levy's Wild KingdomGreaze Is What's GoodTrombone, Shells46644588
2005Babatunde LeaSuite Unseen: Summoner of the GhostTrombone, Shells61484060
1985Carmen LundyGood Morning KissTrombone15872652
2005Carmen LundyJazz & the New Songbook, Live at the MadridTrombone774918249
1989Machete EnsembleAfrica, Vol. 1Trombone23672372
2010John SantosFilosofia Caribena, Vol. 1Trombone777668371
1999Howard MandelFuture JazzTrombone39477839
2006Marco MarzolaImportant LifeTrombone
1994Christian McBrideGetting' to ItTrombone31922436
1998Chico MendozaChico Mendoza & the Latin Jazz Dream BandTrombone
1997Mingus Big BandQue Viva Mingus!Trombone, Shells38446221
1988Ralph MooreRejuvenateTrombone, Conch31693624
2001David "Fathead" NewmanKeep the Spirits SingingTrombone53040367
1986James NewtonRomance and RevolutionTrombone16222377
1997Nuyorican SoulNuyorican SoulPercussion, Trombone36781348
1999Manny Oquendo & LibreAhoraTrombone, Plunger Mute593795119
1983[Manny Oquendo & LibreRitmo, Sonido, y EstiloTrombone, Shells33085784
2001Jann ParkerVoicingsShells
1998Joe PesciVincent Laguardia Gambini SingsTrombone40426777
1987Daniel PonceAraweTrombone21253691
1997Tito Puente50 Years of Swing: 50 Great YearsTrombone37249418
1995Tito PuenteTito's IdeaTrombone, performer33231201
2003Phil RanelinClose Encounter of the Very Best KindTrombone, Shells55998177
1989Lou RawlsAt LastTrombone, Soloist, Conch20124757
1989Lou RawlsBalladsTrombone178691047
1990Lou RawlsIt's Supposed to Be FunTrombone22753722
1992Lou RawlsLegendary Lou RawlsTrombone25709679
1993Max RoachMax Roach & New Orchestra of BostonTrombone34980667
2000Nick RolfePersuaderTrombone48574591
2002Renee RosnesLife on EarthTrombone48963483
1990Gabrielle RothRitualTrombone, Shells28197471
1996Gabrielle RothStillpointSeashells, Dijeridoo53449918
1993Vanessa RubinPasticheSeashells, Dijeridoo28116965
1995Vanessa RubinVanessa Rubin SingsTrombone42560595
1984Hilton RuizCross CurrentsTrombone, Conch32437748
1986Hilton Ruiz EnsembleSomething GrandTrombone, arranger17230739
1993Hilton RuizHeroesTrombone, Bells, Seashells33290631
1981Pharoah SandersRejoiceTrombone27251535
1989John ScofieldBest of John ScofieldTrombone
1995John ScofieldGroove ElationTrombone33482305
2000John ScofieldSteady Groovin'Trombone45625306
1992Charlie SepulvedaAlgo Nuestro (Our Thing)Trombone28550611
2005Naima ShamborguerFrom My Heart to YoursTrombone190772861
1974Woody ShawThe MoontraneTrombone6431690
1975Woody ShawLove DanceTrombone4766584
1977Woody ShawRosewoodTrombone40999163
1978Woody ShawWoody IIITrombone5714135
1980Woody ShawFor Sure!Trombone, Trombone (Bass)7436717
1981Woody ShawUnitedTrombone8630672
1982Woody ShawLotus FlowerTrombone, Trombone (Bass)9149433
1982Woody ShawMaster of the ArtPercussion, Trombone9171962
1982Woody ShawNight MusicTrombone12917626
1983Woody ShawThe Time Is RightTrombone38479081
1987Woody ShawImaginationTrombone, Shells55619930
2001Woody ShawWoody Shaw Live Volume TwoTrombone50118393
2002Woody ShawWoody Shaw Live Volume ThreeTrombone53995035
2005Woody ShawWoody Shaw Live Volume FourTrombone62163736
1979Archie SheppAttica Big BandTrombone
1996Archie SheppAttica Blues Big BandTrombone
1996Horace SilverHardbop GrandpopTrombone, arranger35091908
1972Paul SimonPaul SimonShells55766490
1992Hal SingerNo RushTrombone716539328
1993The SkatalitesSka VooveeTrombone
1994The SkatalitesHi-Bop SkaTrombone
1996The SkatalitesGreetings from SkamaniaTrombone
1996Carol SloaneSongs Sinatra SangTrombone35583202
2001Carol SloaneBallad EssentialsTrombone48051803
2001Harold SmithValley of Sacred SoundTrombone, Shells471584751
1987Bob StewartFirst LineTrombone, Shells57037001
1988Bob StewartGoin' HomeTrombone57037034
1996Bob StewartThen & NowTrombone36503030
2005Monnette SudlerMeeting of the SpiritsTrombone502292482
1997Swing SummitPassing the Torch, Vol. 2Trombone, Shells49414196
2002Juan Pablo TorresTogether AgainTrombone50450768
2005Billy TaylorTaylor Made at the Kennedy CenterTrombone76952165
1991The Timeless All StarsTime for the Timeless All StarsTrombones, Shells34221280
1970James TrumboPeace Before We DieTrombone38471133
1988McCoy Tyner Big BandUptown/DowntownTrombone20516331
1991Tyner Big BandTurning PointTrombone
1993McCoy Tyner Big BandJourneyTrombone, arranger29991637
1999McCoy Tyner Big BandMcCoy Tyner and the Latin All-StarsTrombone, Shells41402094
2000McCoy TynerLes IncontournablesTrombone
2002McCoy Tyner Big BandBest of McCoy Tyner Big Band (compilation)Trombone, arranger51539527
1992Dave ValentinRed SunTrombone, Shells28685980
1986Jack WalrathMaster of SuspenseTrombone20705131
1978Cedar WaltonAnimationTrombone, Trombone (Bass)6308635
1986Cedar Walton with Ron CarterCedar Walton PlaysTrombone17901467
1993Cedar WaltonArt Blakey LegacyTrombone716579513
1998Cedar WaltonBambino: Plays Music of Art BlakeyTrombone43399293
1980Cedar WaltonSoundscapesTrombone7096387
2011Cedar WaltonThe BouncerTrombone763300919
1992Bobby WatsonTailor MadeTrombone28368074
1990Fred WesleyNew FriendsTrombone24074188
1993Frank WessTryin' To Make My Blues Turn GreenTrombone, Shells, Conch30607443
2008Frank WessOnce is Not EnoughTrombone456745706
1990Paul Winter ConsortEarth: Voices of a PlanetDidjeridoo22219068
1996Original SoundtrackEd's Next MoveTrombone35840961
1985Various ArtistsNew Africa, Vol. 2Shells22583566
1989Various Artists15th Anniversary Stash SamplerTrombone, arranger28118589
1990Various ArtistsBeetsConch27683641
1990Various ArtistsFor Real Moments: Song and DancesTrombone27363545
1991Various ArtistsBest of Jazz Music TodayPerformer22998043
1992Various ArtistsBlue Vocals, Vol. 1Trombone28446775
1993Various ArtistsMusic of Rahsaan Roland KirkTrombone, arranger, producer16876213
1994Various ArtistsJazz ShowcaseTrombone30715560
1994Various ArtistsCarnegie Hall Salutes the Jazz MastersTrombone, Shells, performer30858408
1994Various ArtistsCole Porter in Concert: Just One of Those ThingsTrombone31365642
1995Various ArtistsJazz Trumpet: Trumpeter’s HolidayTrombone37765928
1995Various ArtistsThe Art of Jazz: Best Loved StandardsTrombone52598737
1995Various ArtistsThe Art of Jazz: Sentimental Ballads (1995)Trombone36745094
1995Various ArtistsThe Art of Jazz: StandardsTrombone
1995Various ArtistsJazz Á Go-GoPercussion, Trombone
1996Various ArtistsBack to the Basics, Vol. 1Trombone44974904
1996Various ArtistsOriginal Jazz Masters Series: Vol. 5Trombone37873623
1996Various ArtistsPanasonic Village Jazz FestivalArranger, performer795309704
1996Various ArtistsJazz BalladsTrombone
1997Various ArtistsIt's Monk's TuneTrombone37339295
1997Various ArtistsEastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie HallTrombone49423102
1997Swing SummitPassing the Torch, Vol 1Trombone, Conch49414195
1997Various ArtistsLatin Jazz: Con GustoTrombone42965698
2009John Farnsworth SextetThe Smoke SessionsTrombone
1996Various ArtistsPrelude to a Kiss: The Duke Ellington AlbumTrombone35802009
2006Chembo CornielBeyond StandardsTrombone184724916
2009Peppe MerollaStick With MeTrombone, Shells
2010Chicago Afro Latin Jazz EnsembleBlueprintsTrombone, Shells707682567


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       Vol. 13: Sep. 1982–Aug. 1984 (1984); OCLC 31441138
       Vol. 15: Sep. 1986–Aug. 1988 (1988); OCLC 30326307
       Vol. 19: Sep. 1993–Aug. 1994 (1994); OCLC 31703875
       Vol. 23: Sep. 1997–Aug. 1998 (1998)
       Vol. 26: Sep. 2000–Aug. 2001 (2001)
       Vol. 27: Sep. 2001–Aug. 2002 (2002); OCLC 51500525
       Vol. 29: Sep. 2003–Aug. 2004 (2004)
       Vol. 30: Sep. 2004–Aug. 2005 (2005)
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  6. ^ Jazz Profiles. The spirit of the nineties, by Reginald Carver and Lenny Bernstein, New York: Billboard Books (1998); OCLC 39391196
  7. ^ "Steve Turre: l’homme à la conque" ("The Man With the Conch"), by Romain Grosman, Paris: Jazz hot, No. 538, pg. 21 (March 1997); ISSN 0021-5643
  8. ^ "Steve Turre Sounds the Trumpet: Ah, Make that Trombone and Conch," by Bob Blumenthal, Boston Globe January 19, 1993; ISSN 0743-1791
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       2nd ed., Michael Erlewine (ed.); OCLC 35201244
       4th ed., Vladimir Bogdanov, Christopher J. Woodstra (born 1969), Stephen Thomas Erlewine (eds.) (1996); OCLC 50477109
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       1st ed. (1988); OCLC 16804283
       3rd imprent of 1st ed. (1994); OCLC 30516743
       2nd ed. (2002); OCLC 46956628
  11. ^ Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (Turre is in Vol. 6 of 6), Macmillan; Schirmer
       9th ed, Laura Diane Kuhn (ed.) (born 1953) (2001); OCLC 44972043
  12. ^ Bob Bernotas, Online Trombone Journal,
  13. ^ Gary L. Firstenberg (born 1957), "Steve Turre: Still Searchin'", All About Jazz
  14. ^ "SAC Alumni Are Going Places: Steve Turre", SAC State Magazine, (Sacramento State University) (Spring 2012) pg. 8; OCLC 123129729
  15. ^ Black Women in American Bands and Orchestras, by Dorothy Antoinette Handy (née Miller; born 1930), Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press (1981); OCLC 6555037, 251785411 and 833330629
  16. ^ In Black and White – A Guide to Magazine Articles, Newspaper Articles, and Books Concerning Black Individuals and Groups, Third edition, Supplement, Mary Elizabeth Mace Spradling (1911–2009) (ed.), Detroit: Gale Research (1985); OCLC 12286145

External links[edit]