|The John Turner Quintet played for the Wonders Hall term party, fall term, 1966.|
The John Turner Quintet: Left to right, Glen Newton, John Turner, and Cheryl Chrisman. Drummer Mike Johnson is behind John. Guitarist Keith Warnick, the fifth member of the group, is not in the picture.
Pianist John Turner met Glen Newton in Bob Curnow's class on dance band arranging at Michigan State University. This class, the one music class Glen took for credit (three credits, to be specific), included only five students and was open "by audition", which meant that each prospective student had to meet with Curnow, who looked over existing arrangements by the student to determine if he or she was sufficiently musically prepared for the class. Both John and Glen were prepared for the class. Besides being an accomplished keyboardist, John created listenable compositions and arrangements for the combo.
John's creative output - both original works and arrangements of jazz standards - formed the backbone of the repertoire for the John Turner Quintet. The group used John's "A Quickie for Saturday Night" as their break song.
Drummer Mike Johnson and guitarist Keith Warnick were members of Bob Curnow's top MSU jazz band. Glen played trumpet and piano in the feeder group for that jazz band. Vocalist Cheryl was a biology major. Glen remembers that it was not just the practices and performances that were creative:
As I was walking back from a rehearsal with John, Cheryl and a friend of Cheryl's, John decided that we should sing something along the way, so he taught Cheryl and the other girl the appropriate harmony notes of the "pah-pah" in an "oom-pah-pah rhythm." John sang the "oom" and a note to complete the triad. He assigned Glen the melody to the song, "Over the Waves," and the four of us walked along the street in East Lansing sounding a bit like an anemic calliope.
Glen made the double-neck guitar in the picture above as a high school science project, combining parts from his Silvertone bass and guitar with his hand-made guitar body. He had used it on his own arrangment on "Comin' Home Baby" in the Big Rapids High School Band Follies, but there was little need for the combined instrument at Michigan State, so he returned the parts to their original guitars within a year after this picture was taken.
Friday, February 07, 2020.
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