One of the giants of Harlem Stride Piano, Joe Turner’s name is mentioned in the same breath as stride legends James P. Johnson, Willie “The Lion” Smith (MPS album Music On My Mind), and “Fats” Waller. Turner first came to prominence in 1928 with alto sax great Benny Carter’s Orchestra. Around the same time, he became friends with piano icon Art Tatum, occasionally sharing the stage with Tatum. Turner moved to Paris in 1962 where he played at La Calvados and toured throughout Europe, occasionally returning to the US. Turner was acclaimed as ‘the greatest living stride pianist’ at the time of this 1969 trio recording, and although his rhythm section is better known for their work with some of the biggest names in modern jazz, here bassist Hans Rettenbacher and drummer Stu Martin demonstrate they have more than a working knowledge of the music’s history: they perfectly complement Turner’s gorgeous play. Turner concentrates on evergreens from the 20’s and 30’s with such classics as Emmaline, the bluesy ballad Willow Weep For Me, Song of the Vagabonds, a boogying version of Cole Porter’s Love For Sale, and Turner’s heart-warming vocals on Sweet Lorraine. There’s also a strolling vocal as well as a rollicking double-time section on St. Louis Blues. Turner also pays homage to some of the piano greats who were his friends and contemporaries: Earl “Fatha” Hine’s Rosetta, the Ellington-Tizol jazz standard, Caravan, and “Fats” Waller’s stride classics Vipers Drag, Effervescent, and Smashing Thirds. Music that harkens back to an era when feel-good entertainment was an art form.