JJ 02/74: Herbie Mann – Turtle Bay

Fifty years ago Martin Davidson felt that sitting through these 39 minutes was less rewarding than doing nothing for the same amount of time. First published in Jazz Journal February 1974


Having read record reviews for many years, I have noticed that one of the easiest things to do is to write a put-down of Herbie Mann. So, when ‘my turn’ came. I resolved to try to find something good to say about the Mann. Alas, after listening to the muzak filling this record I can honestly find nothing good to say about it.

At least on his earlier records there were usually some good side-men, even if the muzakally impoverished flute player detracted from them in the same way that so many Benny Goodman would-be masterpieces were ruined by the clarinet player. Now Mann has moved on with the financial times and has sur­rounded himself with some uninspired rock musi­cians, but even they sound better than their leader. The overall sound is like half of the Mike Gibbs Band, so that sitting through these thirty-nine minutes is less rewarding than doing nothing for the same amount of time, unless you happen to be blind drunk or stoned deaf in a discotheque.

No, I am sorry that not even the embossed turtle on the lavish sleeve can convince me of anything positive in this muzak. Neither do the three soft-colour photos of the Mann with hairy chest teasingly exposed and legs wide open in cigarette ad country far away from the Turtle Bay eulogised over in the pretentious sleeve note which also con­tains the extremely dubious statement: “Mr. Mann’s music doesn’t happen to be bad music.” What a waste of valuable vinyl and cardboard. Please recycle immediately.

Herbie Mann – Turtle Bay (Atlantic K 50020)