Al Turner Interview Page 4
Jazz Monthly: Speaking of people wanting to use your music.
AT: Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m trying to get in everywhere I can, Smitty.
Jazz Monthly: That’s right, man.
AT: You know anybody who needs some music?
Jazz Monthly: Well, any time I hear of it. you know I’ll pass it on, my friend. I’ll tell them that The Burner can burn for you.
AT: Yes, definitely, man, definitely.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, so now, speaking of this great record, how can people get the record?
AT: It’s available—everybody’s online now so I always mention that first. It’s available online, Amazon.com; iTunes if you’re into the iTunes thing; you can go to my Web site, www.alturner.com, and it will take you to a site where you can purchase it; stores, retail stores around the country.
Jazz Monthly: At your gigs?
AT: At my gigs, certainly at the gigs, for sure, out of the trunk of my car, grocery store, wherever you see me.
Jazz Monthly: (Laughs.)
AT: I’ll have a CD for you. We could make it available. But, yeah, I’ve been blessed. Earl (Klugh) allows me to play a song in his show, which is a blessing for me, and so we do really well on the road. But I’m actually seeking out other avenues to get it out even into broader markets. As you well know, it’s very difficult in these times, especially being a bassist. For some reason people are not used to bass players being up front, but thanks to Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller and those kind of guys, Wayman Tisdale is one of the hot new guys, he’s out front, it’s really helping my situation.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, those guys have really been a blessing for bass players. Mel Brown, Gerald Veasley, all these cats.
AT: Yes, yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of guys out there. Most of them I consider to be friends and colleagues and just good people buddies, you know?
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, I noticed that in your liner notes you named all of them.
AT: Yeah, and those are just a few. And I really, really believe in just giving credit to where it’s due, you know what I mean?
Jazz Monthly: Yes indeed.
AT: Because you can do nothing, and I said in my liner notes there’s nothing you can really do by yourself.
Jazz Monthly: Right.
AT: Somewhere along the way somebody’s gonna help you and it could be in the smallest way, but I really thank God for having the opportunities to meet people, great people like that, musicians, and just people in general, and I learn from every situation that I’m involved in. It could just be a conversation with someone. I try to take something from that and use it in a positive way.
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and speaking of that, speaking of people helping you, talk to me about James Jamerson.
AT: Wow, well, first of all, he’s the greatest bass player to ever pick up the bass. And that’s my opinion. I mean, what he did for the electric bass, to me, he changed the world. All those great songs that he played on, being a bass player in Motown was just phenomenal, especially at the time, and he’s a huge influence on me. His playing, even today I listen to those songs and learn something from them. But his spirit still lives on in the music, just a phenomenal, phenomenal bass player. Marvin Gaye, “What’s Goin’ On?” I mean, come on, give me a break.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, you don’t top that kind of stuff.
AT: Okay? And you can go down the list, all the Stevie Wonder stuff and the Temptations, Supremes. I mean, this guy, man, he was just crazy in a good way, okay?
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, crazy good.
AT: Yeah, I mean, his playing, man, the things that he was able to handle. You have to really put it in perspective too because back then there wasn’t the kind of recording technology that we have today. The instrument that he used was basically just a stock instrument. There weren’t as many choices as we have today. But the types of things that he had to battle in terms of sound quality, he came out with this huge great sound and it’s just pretty evident as to it’s all about the musician and not the tool.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah.
AT: The creative genius is inside, you know what I mean?
Jazz Monthly: Totally.
AT: Now we have all these gadgets, we have these great instruments and everything.
AT: A lot of times younger musicians, even older ones—I’m not going to just say younger—but a lot of musicians get caught up into the tools.
Jazz Monthly: Right.
AT: And it’s not about that, you know?
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, it’s what you bring to the tools.
AT: Exactly, exactly that. Just tools, you know?
Jazz Monthly: Yeah.
AT: Music is on the inside.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, man. Well, I wanted to definitely mention him because I knew what an influence he was for you and I remember all those great songs and still, like you, I still listen to them and just go “Wow” at what he accomplished.
AT: Yeah, yeah, it’s amazing.
Jazz Monthly: Yes indeed.
AT: It’s amazing, man, it really is, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to play that good.
Jazz Monthly: Aw, come on, now, come on! I think you’re on your way, my friend. You’re closer than you think. How’s that?
AT: Yeah, thank you, thank you for the compliment.
Jazz Monthly: Yes indeed. Well, Al, I just want to thank you again for this great record and for letting me have a copy.
AT: Aw, man, you are very welcome, man, and I thank you for helping me to spread the word and get it out there, you know?
Jazz Monthly: Well, it’s a pleasure.
AT: I really appreciate that.
Jazz Monthly: You’re so welcome and it’s a pleasure and honor, and I am just so glad that the record can breathe now and people can really have the opportunity to get it in their own hands and enjoy it because I’m telling ya, this is a real treat. If you love great music, great jazz with a funky groove, this is it. I mean, if you wanna groove and just kinda let every member of your body move, this is the project.
AT: Oh, thank you, man, thank you.
Jazz Monthly: Come on, it’s Detroit, you know?
AT: (Both laugh.) Yeah, there’s something about Detroit. The water, right?
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, man, it’s in the water, the air, everything. I mean, in fact, if you go into Detroit and you didn’t get your groove on, something’s wrong.
AT: Okay? That’s where Jamerson recorded all those great tracks.
Jazz Monthly: Exactly, you know?
Jazz Monthly: So this is a true representation of a Detroit groove with a very funky jazz sound and I’m just totally diggin’ it and I know everyone that will take the time to pick up your great new this record or download it from iTunes or Amazon is going to love it.
AT: Oh yeah, yeah. Go out and get it!
Jazz Monthly: All right, my friend. Well, hey, Al, thanks so much for spending a little time with the Smitty boy and talking about this great record, and you know I wish you all the best in the world with your tour that you’re on and I hope to catch you soon on the road myself, my friend.
AT: Certainly. Hopefully I’ll see you in about a month or so down in Houston.
Jazz Monthly: All right, my friend. Take care, man, and all the best.
AT: Thank you.
Baldwin “Smitty” Smith
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