Big Joe Turner: Boss Of The Blues
Besides helping to invent rock 'n roll with his hit "Shake, Rattle and Roll," Big Joe Turner was one of the most soulful blues shouters of all time. His best albums married the boogie-woogie piano stylings of the great Pete Johnson with a jazzy jumpin' horn section. Boss Of The Blues is arguably Joe's best recording, in part because he sang with particular gusto during these 1956 sessions. At the time, Boss of the Blues marked a nostalgic return to the jump-blues style that Turner helped pioneer in the '40s. Besides Johnson, Boss featured some of Kansas City's finest ever jazzmen and various members of Count Basie's band, including Joe Newman (trumpet), Pete Brown (alto sax), Lawrence Brown (trombone), Frank Wess (tenor sax) and Freddie Green (guitar). The bawdy "Cherry Red" and the rollicking "Roll 'Em Pete" are my favorite Turner-Johnson collaborations. Both feature some incredible playing by the piano master. Turner's versions of "I Want a Little Girl," "Low Down Dog," "You're Driving Me Crazy," and "Morning Glories" are definitive. If I had to compile a list of my 10 favorite albums, Boss of the Blues would be there.