The Pioneers of Boogie-woogie: Lewis, Ammons, & Johnson

When looking back at the development of boogie-woogie piano music, three pianists stand out. Their names are Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis, Albert Ammons, and Pete Johnson. They are responsible for getting the attention of the public and consequently increasing the music’s popularity. The first one on the list, Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis, was born in 1905. His birthplace … Continue reading The Pioneers of Boogie-woogie: Lewis, Ammons, & Johnson

The Composition That Established Boogie-woogie: The Fives

Boogie-woogie piano music would always remain a Texas tradition, but its music hub would become Chicago. In 1921, George Washington Jr. Thomas and Hersal Thomas moved to Chicago and, they introduced the north to the boogie-woogie piano. The two brothers were both acknowledged pianists and composers with a strong influence on other musicians. Their composition … Continue reading The Composition That Established Boogie-woogie: The Fives

Old Folks at Home (Way Down Upon Swanee River)

One of my all-time favorite boogie-woogie piano songs is Swanee River Boogie performed by Albert Ammons And His Rhythm Kings. Ammons plays a steady and repeating boogie baseline with the left hand, accompanied by the adaptation of the melody from Old Folks at Home (also known as Swanee River) with the right hand. Old Folks … Continue reading Old Folks at Home (Way Down Upon Swanee River)

Boogie-woogie: An Invitation to Dance

Boogie-woogie is, without doubt, one of the most complex piano styles developed in America. The pianist needs to demonstrate exceptional hand-independence skills and an excessive sense for rhythm and timing to play syncopated right-hand licks and riffs on the left-handed base patterns. Boogie-woogie piano music was often played at barrelhouses and later, at so-called “House-Rent … Continue reading Boogie-woogie: An Invitation to Dance