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Old Aug 8, 2007, 11:16 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Saxophonist Earl Turbinton R.I.P.

Born: September 23, 1941 New Orleans, Louisiana

Died: August 5, 2007 Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Jazz musician, saxophone player, Earl Turbinton died Sunday, August 5, 2007 at the Capital Nursing Home in Baton Rouge. Funeral arrangements are tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 11.

Earl Turbinton has played with Cannonball Adderley, B.B. King and Herbie Hancock as well as Louisiana musicians the Neville Brothers, Snooks Eaglin, the Wild Magnolias, Allen Toussaint and brother Wilson “Willie Tee” Turbinton.

Turbinton was a master of both the soprano and alto sax. The Turbinton's sound on CDs include: Blue Note Series recordings from September 1970, featuring Reuben Wilson and Earl Turbinton; The Wild Magnolias (1974) and They Call Us Wild (1975); B.B. King's Five Long Years (1972); The Gaturs Wasted (1998); A Portrait of Champion Jack Dupree (2000); Zawinul (1970); From Bad to Badder, with Richard Payne and Ed Blackwell(1987); Johnny Vidacovich's Mystery Steet(1995); and a 1999 reissue of Buster Williams' Pinnacle.

Earl Turbinton recorded a CD with his brother, Willie Tee Turbinton, entitled Brothers for Life, in 1988. A later disc called Dominion and Sustenance shows his reverence for the musical genius of John Coltrane. Many of Turbinton's best tunes reflect that Coltranesque style.

Turbinton lost his home in New Orleans' Hollygrove neighborhood when faultily designed and constructed federal levees failed and flooded the city on August 29th, 2005.

Last edited by John Doheny : Aug 8, 2007 at 01:12 PM.
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 07:54 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Visitation will be Saturday August 11th from 9 to 11:00a.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea, 1835 St. Roch Avenue, New Orleans LA, followed by a funeral mass at 11:00a.m.
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 09:49 AM
John Doheny John Doheny is offline
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Times-Picayune Obituary

Thursday, August 09, 2007
By Keith Spera
Music writer
Earl Turbinton, the adventurous saxophonist who helped pioneer the modern jazz scene in New Orleans, died Aug. 3 in Baton Rouge after a long illness. He was 65.

He followed an idiosyncratic path in music, as has his brother, funk keyboardist Wilson "Willie Tee" Turbinton. He specialized in alto and soprano saxophone, drawing inspiration from Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane and the spiritual beliefs on which he occasionally expounded from the stage.

His religious wanderings informed his life and music. A former Roman Catholic altar boy, he later embraced elements of the Rosicrucian, Buddhist and Muslim faiths. He didn't eat pork, unless it was on a muffuletta.

"He was a high-profile, spiritual persona and a torchbearer for stretching the envelope, for taking the music to higher heights," said Jason Patterson, the talent buyer at Snug Harbor jazz bistro. "He took Coltrane's approach and made it personal."

Mr. Turbinton grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. He studied jazz with clarinetist Alvin Batiste at Southern University.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Turbinton co-founded The Jazz Workshop, a nonprofit Decatur Street club that he hoped would serve as an incubator for avant-jazz. That ambition did not come to pass, but the "African Cowboy," as Mr. Turbinton referred to himself, continued to work as a leader and sideman. In the 1970s, he often gigged with the future members of jazz ensemble Astral Project, ignoring the unspoken color barriers that sometimes bedeviled bandstands.

He accepted odd jobs for extra income, but mostly focused on musical pursuits. He directed the jazz studies program at Dillard University and taught privately; his students included saxophonist Wessell Anderson and vocalist Cassandra Wilson. The National Endowment for the Arts named him a Jazz Fellow in 1983. He visited every continent except Antarctica and lectured at jazz clinics at universities and prisons.

He also contributed to a wide range of albums, including the landmark Wild Magnolias projects produced by Willie Tee, former Miles Davis keyboardist Joe Zawinul's solo debut, and B.B. King's 1972 release "Five Long Years." In 1988, he collaborated with his brother on the "Brothers for Life" album.

He delivered a memorable set at the 2002 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, then suffered a stroke weeks later. As he struggled with a series of medical setbacks over the next five years, he still adhered to the spirit of improvisation that defined his music.

"He would improvise in physical therapy," said his daughter, Denise Turbinton. "We'd say, 'No, that's not the way. Let's not be creative with this.' Everything was of the moment."

Mr. Turbinton lived in the Christopher Inn in Faubourg Marigny until evacuating before Hurricane Katrina. He eventually ended up in Memphis, Tenn., with Denise. Eager to return to his home state, he finally settled in a Baton Rouge nursing home in November.

"He was thrilled to be back in Louisiana," Denise Turbinton said.

Survivors include his brother, Wilson "Willie Tee" Turbinton; a sister, Joyce Gill; two daughters, Denise Turbinton and Naima Carter of New Orleans; and three sons, Taman and Ahmad Turbinton of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Jason Mimms of Atlanta. Visitation will be Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea, 1835 St. Roch Ave., followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m
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