Steve Turre

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Steve Turre (2010)

Steve Turre , also Steve Turré , (born September 12, 1948 in Omaha , Nebraska , USA ) is an American jazz musician and mainly plays the trombone , but also snail horns .

life and work

Steve Turre grew up in California and studied music at North Texas State University from 1968 to 1969. Since 1968 he played sporadically with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and recorded in 1970 in San Francisco with the Latin rock group Santana . After a tour with Ray Charles in 1972, he worked with Woody Herman , and then went to New York in 1973 with Art Blakeys Jazz Messengers and toured Europe with the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra . From 1974 to 1976 Turre made recordings with Chico Hamilton , on both trombone and electric guitar. In 1974 he also played the trombone with Woody Shaw . After working with Kirk again, during which he first began experimenting with clams, Turre was a member and arranger of Slide Hampton's World of Trombones. In addition, he composed and arranged for Max Roach , led his own quartet and toured with the pianist Cedar Walton . In 1980 he returned to Woody Shaw's Quintet, where he stayed until 1985. He has performed with McCoy Tyner , Dexter Gordon , Slide Hampton, Poncho Sanchez, Hilton Ruiz and Tito Puente . In 1987 he joined Dizzy Gillespies United Nations Orchestra and played regularly with Lester Bowies Brass Fantasy .

Steve Turré in France, 1976

Together with the group Sanctified Shells - a group of four trombonists (doubled on snail horns), trumpeter EJ Allen and a rhythm section - Turre performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival and recorded a highly acclaimed CD. “Historically,” he remarks about this natural horn , which appeared at the top of the Miscellaneous Instruments category in the Down Beat polls of the 1990s because of him , “the shell is the origin of the trombone. For me, however, it is an extension of the trumpet because I played the trumpet first. "

Since 1988 he has been a lecturer at the Manhattan School of Music . He was married to cellist Akua Dixon from 1978 to 2012 . The children Andromeda Turre (jazz singer) and Orion Turre (drummer) emerged from the marriage.

Snail horns in jazz

Audio sample

For the first time in 1974 his mentor Woody Shaw Turre had an intro contributed to a Latin piece on the album "Moontrane", which was played on snail horns that were falsely identified as shells. At the age of 18, Turre heard the saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk , who blew a “sea shell” with a long, constant sound in circular breathing. With this he managed to create a special form of spirituality, to experiment with new sound sources in line with his concept.

Turre emphasizes that you should only make a snail horn sound with vibrating lips, but not sing into it. They then produce a sound very similar to the human voice. Turre mentions the German jazz trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff , who could "sing" on the trombone and thus evoke a sound similar to the snail horns.

Turre uses snail shells of various sizes to enlarge the range. He reaches into it and thus varies the sound and pitch. Every snail is unique and sounds different, says Turre.

According to Turre, it is precisely the limited possibilities that represent the simple, the feasible and a certain moment in music. That also influenced him in the development of his trombone playing.

He doesn't look for the snail shells himself, he buys them. Turre has a collection of a variety of different snail shells. Some species are protected and must be purchased from certified dealers. According to Turre, housings found on the beach are unusable because water, sand and weather leave holes and cracks in housing walls.

He treats the rough surface at the base of the mouth in a lip-friendly manner and forms a kind of mouthpiece with acrylic.


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

Rahsaan Kirk and Steve Turre (Paris 1976)

Discographic notes

Lexical entries

Web links

Single receipts

  1. cit. n. Kunzler Jazzlexikon
  2. The Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival With Akua Dixon , Jazzradio, June 16, 2015, accessed August 29, 2015
  3. Jazzthing No. 86, 11.2010 - 01.2011, p. 96