Joe Turner

Featuring Slam Stewart & Jo Jones

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Pianist Joe Turner, who is frequently confused with the blues shouter Big Joe Turner, was a strong if overlooked stride player who was an active performer for over 60 years until his death in 1990. This Black & Blue compilation CD pairs 14 tracks from a 1971 trio session with Slam Stewart and Jo Jones with four tracks taken from a 1974 duo date with drummer Panama Francis. Most of the numbers from the trio set come from Art Tatum's repertoire, with the exception of Turner's "Paris Blues," Bobby Troup's "Route 66," and Stewart's lighthearted arrangement of "Loch Lomond." Turner's chops aren't quite up to the level of the best stride interpreters, which is apparent especially in his less aggressive performance of James P. Johnson's "Carolina Shout." He swings a bit more in the duo sessions with Francis, particularly in Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" and "Honey Hush," the latter featuring Turner's good-natured vocals. This is a good, though not essential, release.

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