Rob Rio

Thank You, Joe Turner

Boogie woogie pianist Rob Rio’s latest endeavor celebrates the “boss of the blues,” Big Joe Turner, with a selection of songs made famous by the Kansas City blues shouter who recorded a couple of these same songs—the relaxed “Cherry Red” and “Wee, Wee Baby”—with his equally famous cohort, pianist Pete Johnson. However, the accent here is mostly on the songs Turner recorded in the ’50s, during his second career: the house-rocking, let’s-have-a-party repertory that includes such genuine classics as “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” and “Flip, Flop and Fly.” Rio, a terrific pianist and vocalist, is accompanied by some of L.A.’s best sidemen and the three-man horn section (Bill Flores—tenor, alto sax; Jeff Turmes—baritone, tenor sax; Corey Gemme—trumpet) lays down such solid K.C.-style riffing that it melts my heart. The CD’s title track is Rio’s tribute to Big Joe (1911-85) and echoes a sentiment dear to fans of the incomparable singer. Although the 10 songs all hover around the three-minute mark, there’s a solid 34 minutes of pure pleasure here. To find out more about Rio, go to