Keyboardist CHRIS TURNER is part of Portland’s vibrant soul and jazz scene. He’s one of a community that includes people like drummer Tyrone Hendrix, trumpeter Farnell Newton and of course Jarrod Lawson who’s currently riding high on the UK soul chart with his wonderful ‘Be The Change’ album (see our reviews archive).
Turner has just released his debut solo album, ‘Love & Legacy’ and you might not be surprised to know that in best community spirit, our friend Jarrod helps out on one of the tracks… a sumptuous, smooth soul ballad, ‘You Got Me’ . It originally appeared back in 2018 on another Portland artist, Ronnie Wright’s ‘AKA Bespeak’ album. Now Mr T uses the lovely song as one of the focus cuts on his ‘Love & Legacy’ set and if you don’t know it and if you are/were impressed by Lawson’s ‘Be The Change’ you will want to investigate.
The good news is that the cut isn’t the only highlight on ‘Love & Legacy’. ‘Reckless Love’, the album’s other big vocal, is a lovely, smooth soul ballad with a jazzy undertow in the manner of Anita Baker. The vocalist here is Ayana George. Chantae Cann delivers a sort of scat style vocal on the LP’s opener, ‘Mighty Joe’ while (I’m guessing) it’s Chris himself fronts the ensemble, fun style vocal on the funky ‘Party Time’.
The 13 tracker also offers plenty of classy smooth jazz instrumentals that remind me a lot of the great Texas piano man Joe Mc Bride’s work. Turner offers homage to two of his heroes on ‘Giant Stevie’ and ‘Dr Duke’ while the semi-vocalised ‘Helpless And Hopeless’ is a classic Quiet Storm moment. Sadly, it’s too short – just shy of two minutes. There are a couple of brief interludes too which clearly mean more to Chris than to the average listener, but they don’t detract from a real classy and satisfying smooth jazz/sophisticated soul album… but coming out of Portland right now, you’d expect that!