Keyboardist Derek Turner Keeps Smooth Jazz Alive On Debut CD


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The debut album from keyboardist Derek Turner, Sharing the Groove, was a quarter-century in the making. However, that doesn’t mean Turner spent each day for 25 years crafting the album. Rather, a household with a devout spiritual background wasn’t exactly accepting of secular music. “I spent the majority of my time playing Gospel music,” Turner revealed. “Growing up in a Christian home, there was a stigma playing music other than Gospel. When I finally broke away and decided to explore other types of music, I began to find myself and smooth jazz was my outlet.”

Smooth jazz is also Turner’s genre of choice on Sharing the Groove. It’s a style that he has a deep fondness for. “I love smooth jazz just for the simple fact it’s spontaneous,” Turner explained. “You can play a song every night and make it sound different.” Although commercial smooth jazz radio stations have been taking a hit recently, with numerous key outlets switching to other formats, Turner feels the genre will continue to live on. “Jazz cannot be destroyed,” Turner said. “It will always be around, but I don't like that jazz is being taken away from mainstream radio and replaced with…I don't know what to call it. What we need is less scam artists and more good jazz club owners with cheap beer and good liquor.”

Based in Los Angeles, Turner hasn’t had difficulties carving his own space in the city’s highly competitive music field. “I have been very successful here in the Los Angeles area,” Turner revealed. “There are a lot of places where smooth jazz is accepted. Once you find a niche, L.A. could be very profitable, especially in the recording studios.” Nevertheless, Turner has been somewhat absent from local gigging lately. “At the moment, I don't perform live that much,” Turner admitted. “In the next couple of months I plan to get out more. The studio is a wonderful place, but it’s nothing like being in front of a live audience. I prefer a live audience because you get to interact with people. There's nothing like watching an audience enjoy your music.”

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