Joe Turner Day

November 3, 1907 – July 21, 1990

Carolina Shout, St. Louis Blues and more

Pianist Joe Turner was born on November 3, 1907 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Not to be confused with the blues singer, Joe Turner was one of stride piano’s undisputed masters.

At 21 he got a gig playing with the King’s orchestra. (That’s Benny Carter, one of the quiet giants of jazz who was immensely respected by his peers, thus his name “The King.”)

Turner also played with Louis Armstrong.

In 1962, Turner moved to Paris where he stayed until his death in 1990. He had a regular gig at La Calavados, a nightclub on the Champs Elysees which may have been the site of this film.

In the middle of the program (there are two pieces), Turner demonstrates his fluency in French.

He talks about being born in Baltimore and moving to New York City and being part of the thriving “rent party” scene there when a quarter could get you a night’s worth of music, food and drink.

The US dollar was worth about 100x more then – literally. So 25 cents was about $25 today.

Tunes on this video:

– Keep Off The Grass
– Cloud Fifteen
– Carolina Shout
– Interview (It’s in French, but hang in there. It’s short and you’ll understand a lot of it.)
– St. Louis Blues