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44 Pieces of Dreams

At 44 minutes, Stanley Turrentine‘s Pieces of Dreams is not a lengthy collection of songs, but then that’s how it was with LPs. It came out in 1974, so the options were LP or 8-track. Listening to it now, I can hear 1974 in its backing strings and in the few vocals that crop up. My dad had this record and played it quite a bit, so I can also hear my childhood in it,and I can see my dad doing his jazzy dancing in the living room, and so it has highly personal, non-transferable significance for me. If someone were to listen to this for the first time today, they wouldn’t hear what I hear. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t give it a listen.

Turrentine was known as a soul-jazz player in the 1960s but then turned to fusion in the early 70s. Allmusic describes him thusly: “A legend of the tenor saxophone, Stanley Turrentine was renowned for his distinctively thick, rippling tone, an earthy grounding in the blues, and his ability to work a groove with soul and imagination.”

Allmusic is not so kind to the Pieces of Dreams album, however, damning it with faint praise: “Stanley Turrentine’s recording of Michel Legrand’s ‘Pieces of Dreams’ is quite memorable and made the song into a standard. There are two versions of that song on this CD reissue, but unfortunately, the other six numbers and the two added alternate takes are all quite commercial… None of the other then-recent material is up to the level of ‘Pieces of Dreams,’ making this a disc that can be safely passed by.” If you followed Allmusic’s advice, though, you wouldn’t stop to hear “Midnight and You” (side 1, track 4) or  “Blanket on the Beach” (side 2, track 3), and that would be a shame; those are nice retro jams.

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