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Twist Turner

Twist plays drums on Liz Mandeville’s Earwig recordings of Liz Mandeville’s Back In Love Again (CD 4949) and Red Top (CD 4954).

During the course of his 44-year-long career in music, songwriter, producer and drummer Twist Turner has worked with 30 Grammy nominees and 15 W.C.Handy/Blues music award winners.

Twist was raised in Seattle and began his musical career folding sheets in a laundry with Jimi Hendrix’s stepmother. Ok, he admit’s it, he was playing music before that, but it’s still a kind of cool fact that most people don’t know about him. In 1974 Twist got a gig with west coast bluesman/guitar god Isaac Scott. He began playing all the Skid Row bars Seattle had to offer, playing for a clientele of strippers, pimps, hustlers, prostitutes, bikers and politicians. A good time was had by all that lived.

In 1975 Twist packed his bags and headed for the windy city, Chicago, Illinois. With in weeks he was working with all his musical idols. Playing gigs with musicians he had only dreamed about meeting just a few months before. Twist was able to work with Hubert Sumlin several nights a week for nearly 10 years, he got the gig at Theresa’s Lounge with the Jr. Wells Blues Band in 1977, and except for a very short stint with Buddy Guys band he kept that gig for the most part of 2 years. There was a period of 10 years or so where he never had a weekend off and would work at least 6 gigs a week sometimes more. Twist literally worked with the who’s who of blues at that time, some really famous, some not so well known outside of the ghetto. Twist used to joke that it was much easier to name the 1/2 dozen blues artists that he hadn’t worked with than to name the ones he had.

1984 found Twist restless for a change again, he had just recorded a new lp and he felt he needed a change of scenery, so he headed to New Orleans. Let’s just say New Orleans didn’t work out and not wanting to go right back to Chicago, he headed to Seattle for a year or so, fronting his own band Twist Turner and the Turning Point. By 1986 he’d had enough rain, and decided to give the San Francisco bay area a try. This turned out to be a great move. Twist immediately picked up a ton of gigs. He rekindled his friendship with former Jackie Wilson drummer, now turned vocalist Andrew Jefferies, began working with artists like Sonny Rhodes, Arkansas (Flooding Down in Texas) Larry Davis, Deacon Jones, Birdlegg and Country Pete McGill, Guitar Gable, Jimmy McCracklin, Freddie Roulette and his favorite Luther Tucker. At this point Twist began to get interested in recording as well.

By 1991 he’d had enough of California so he decided to head back to Chicago, not so much to play but to live in an area with a large pool of competent musicians he could use for records and song demos he was producing. Twist got his gig back with Little Arthur Duncan pretty much right way. He’s now been playing with him off and on for 30 years!

Twist mostly spends his time writing, and producing in his own world class recording facility. He is currently recording and producing a new CD featuring the gospel drenched, soulful vocals of ZZ Hill Jr which should be released before summer of 2007.

Twist has played on over 50 records. Some of the artists he has recorded with include Big Mojo Elem, Sunnyland Slim, Hip Lankchan(Linkchain), Little Mack Simmons, Little Charlie and the night cats, Eddie Shaw, The Eldorados, Liz Mandville Greeson, Jo Armstead, Andre Williams, Dan Beaver, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Little Arthur Duncan, Dusty Brown, Russ Green, Omar Coleman, Larry Cox, Robert Plunkett, Paul Jones(from Manfred Man, the guy who sang Do wa Diddy), Dick Taylor (origional member of the Rolling Stones),Easy Baby , Lovie Lee, Mark Hummel, Birdlegg, Country Pete McGill, Isaac Scott, Billy Branch, ZZ Hill Jr, James Newman, Taildragger, Del Brown, Emery Williams Jr., Freddie “send my baby back” Hughes, Chicago Slim, Rev. Charlie Jackson, Charlie Love, Big D, Harmonica Hines, Jeff Taylor, Reginald Cooper, Prez Kenneth, Maurice John Vaughn, Melvin Taylor, Willie Kent and the list goes on and on.

Twist turner