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boogie woogie

Learn the Irish etymology of Jazz, Jizz, Jive & Boogie.


We used the words boogie and boogaloo to mean move fast or depart quickly with no reference to music. ~ Dan Cassidy

The first The first boogie woogie hit was "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" by Pinetop Smith recorded in 1928 wins a Grammy at the 50th Awards Show.

July 7, 1913 - March 21, 2011-- Pinetop Perkins began playing blues in the late 1920s, Pinetop Perkins - Pinetop's Boogie Woogie Live



Main parts of the music style go as far back as 1900. The dance is known as swing dancing (any style) also called "Jump Swing" and done to either faster Blues or Boogie Woogie.

Boogie Woogie was more of a Piano musical style (C,G,A,G) than a dance. Starting with Pinetop or sometimes spelled Pine Top Smith (1899-1929) who wrote the first official Boogie Woogie song in 1928. Clarence "Pine Top" Smith was a vaudeville performer and considered to be the originator of the boogie woogie style of piano playing. Jimmy Blythe's recording of "Chicago Stomps" from April of 1924 is sometimes called the first complete boogie-woogie piano solo record.

According to Clarence Williams, the style was started by Texas pianist George W. Thomas (born 1885, Houston, Texas - died, according to differing sources, in March, 1930, Chicago, Illinois or 1936 Washington, DC). Thomas was a United States blues and jazz pianist and songwriter and head of an important Texas blues clan. He made The Rocks in 1923 (as Clay Custer), a solo which contains the earliest recording of a walking bass. Thomas published one of the earliest pieces of sheet music with the boogie-woogie bassline, "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues" in 1916, although Williams recalled hearing him play the number before 1911.

Meade Lux Lewis's Honky Tonk Train PDF.
is considered to be part of the “second-era” boogie-woogie style, but the use of train motives and repeated dotted rhythms in the bass are associated with the early development of the style. The use of train-sound metaphors in piano styles was implemented because of the African-American slaves' involvement with the construction of the national railway system. After hearing the railroad sounds all day, the workers brought them into their playing at the barrelhouses and boogie halls at night; therefore, the use of train-sound metaphors was most likely passed down to Lewis through this tradition of railroad workers.


In 1922 Okeh hired Clarence Williams to act as director of "Race" (African American) recordings for Okeh's New York studios, in addition to making recordings under his own name. Okeh then opened a recording studio in Chicago, Illinois, the center of jazz in the 1920s, where Richard M. Jones served as "Race" recordings director. Many classic jazz performances by the likes of King Oliver, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong were recorded by Okeh.

In February of 1923 Joseph Samuels' Tampa Blue Jazz Band recorded the George W. Thomas number "The Fives" for Okeh Records, considered the first example of jazz band boogie-woogie.

Boogie Woogie Dream
by Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson


Meade Anderson "Lux" Lewis (1905 - 1964) was a United States pianist and composer noted for his work in the Boogie Woogie style. His best known work, "Honky Tonk Train Blues" is considered one of the first rock and roll records, and has been recorded by many players, including Oscar Peterson and Keith Emerson. Lewis was born in Chicago, Illinois in September of 1905 (September 3rd, 4th, and 13th are given as his birthdate in various sources). In his youth he was influenced by pianist Jimmy Yancey.
Although he first recorded in 1927, Lewis achieved little fame until he was brought to New York City by promoter John Hammond in 1938 when he appeared at well publicised concerts including at Carnegie Hall. The From Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall launched a boogie woogie craze, and he and two other performers from that concert, Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson became the leading boogie-woogie pianists of the day. They performed an extended engagement at Café Society and also toured and recorded as a trio.
Meade "Lux" Lewis died in an automobile accident in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 7, 1964.

Meade Lux Lewis

Seely & Baldori Honky Tonk Train



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Boogie Stomp! A Celebration Of American Music! Oct 13, 2009 by Stu Franckel
Ten days ago, I caught a show downtown that reminded me with fresh vigor why I'm a musician. So this particular column is less a performance review than it is a celebration of that show and all that's good and true in musical expression. It was a night of American music as played by two American Masters, with its own point of view, its own deep intentions and traditions, and total freedom from the traps of age, fashion, era, whatever. I'm not into the whole “old is better” thing either; there's plenty of valuable and great music being made today. This show just had all the goods.


The show in question was on Friday night, October 2, at the ornate Gem Theater. Titled Boogie Stomp!, it's a simple premise—two pianists, Bob Seeley and Bob Baldori, playing stride, boogie-woogie, blues and backbeat rock & roll on twin concert grand pianos. Between songs they talk about their lives, careers and influences with an anecdotal ease that creates that rarest of things—the artists and audience in a shared revelry that then creates this third presence in the room. A higher love. As performing musicians, it's what we all strive for with every show.
The relationship between Seeley and Baldori began when they met at a tribute to Chuck Berry's original piano player, Johnny Johnson. They started working together soon after Baldori went out and sat in at Seeley's regular gig at Charley's Crab in Troy. A mutual interest in the "two piano" boogie style of legendary greats Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons led them to work out some of the original four hand classics. They also discovered a common repertoire of mutually familiar blues, boogie and jazz tunes that Baldori could also double on harmonica. From there it was a short step to creating original pieces for their live show.
A brief look back at this mongrel of a genre: By the late 1930s and throughout the '40s, the world of jazz and popular music was dominated by what was known as “The Big Three" of Boogie Woogie piano --- Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons, and Meade Lux Lewis. Their style was called Boogie, but their playing covered a country mile, and included jazz, blues, swing, stride, ragtime, barrelhouse, and the roots of rock and roll.
In this age of adult attention deficiency, rapid resolution and the endless catering to juvenilia, Boogie Stomp! and both Bobs are a welcome antidote. Both men are over 60; both perform with the vitality of 25 year olds. More importantly, both men illuminate, in slightly varied ways, this long river of American music right before our eyes and ears.
Seeley is the last living connection to the founders of blues and boogie — Sippie Wallace, Meade Lux Lewis, Big Maceo Merriwether, even the legendary executive and talent scout John Hammond. He's honored the world over as the finest living stride and boogie piano player, winning competitions and performing in European music meccas like Paris and Moscow annually. He's a musical God in Europe. An indomitable 82 that would pass for 55 at any point, Seeley sits with the terse, rounded shoulders of a boxer and plays with a rumbling, clarion intensity. Pure magic.
Baldori had a Top 10 hit in 1966 with his band The Woolies, covering Bo Diddley's seminal “Who Do You Love” with producer Lou Adler. He then became one of Chuck Berry's indispensable sidemen and friends, playing with rock's founder everywhere from the White House to the Silverdome over the last 30 years. His playing has deep roots in early electric blues -- Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson and Memphis Slim are dominant, but this is extravagantly alive music in the here and now, not some vintage period piece relic.
Between these two men, a musical continuum of 100 years is writ large, stomped out and hand delivered with the dynamic thrust of a freight train. Baldori is more in the Johnny Johnson--Professor Longhair style while Seeley actually learned his chops from Lewis. He has a lighter touch than Lewis however--more poetic, like Jimmy Yancey playing Beethoven on a bender.
In another day, both players might've been called Cat House piano players. Both have booming left hands that are like granite in their time keeping.
Baldori, coming from rock & roll and Chicago Blues, is more the overt showman. His harp playing is as exciting as anyone since Paul Butterfield or a young James Cotton, with a bullrush of distorted notes quickly giving away to bright, melodic runs and at times comic physical expression. Between songs he lays out the genesis of all this music, where it went and what it became, while Seeley tells stories about his vast career with self effacing wit.
Is Boogie Stomp! blues? R&B? Rock & Roll? Boogie-Woogie? Jazz? It's all that, plus the historical oral tradition of the shaman, the elder or high priest. Is it academic? Nah. Is it history? Yea, but it's way more fun than school ever was. All this ran through my mind as these guys were replicating the famous 1938 night at Carnegie Hall when Hammond joined Ammons, Lewis and Pete Johnson together for a performance that launched what was called the “boogie craze.” All these complimentary styles — from Boogie to Rock to Blues to Soul — are creations and extensions of the black experience in America. Both Bobs are white, but they set all that straight in their historical overview.
Now, I have to make known this small disclaimer, although my exuberance for this show was not increased by our friendship. When I was 19, I had two once-in-a-lifetime mentors. First was Boogie Bob Baldori himself, who put me in his band when I was greener than green. I could barely play a lick, and my hip quotient was zero. But he saw something he liked, and he taught me everything--how to work an audience, how to wrap a cord after a gig, how to listen to each other on stage, how to conduct business. He taught me about keeping tempo, using dynamics, how something quiet can kill an audience (in a good way), and how a band should work with and around the singer. He taught me where the back of the beat is. He turned me on to Howlin Wolf, Robert Johnson, Henry Adams and Luis Bunuel. He took me to Chicago repeatedly to see the best blues acts, where I'd meet these eccentric characters deep inside the music business. It's one of those debts you can never repay--you just try to live up to it.
Through Bob and his band, I was soon playing bass on some dates with Chuck Berry, who taught me about guitar playing, syncopation, feel, lyric writing and vocal clarity. Here I was working with the guy who literally wrote the book. Listen to Chuck sing—he enunciates every syllable, like the King's English.
Baldori and Seeley have now shot enough footage all over the world that a documentary also called Boogie Stomp! will soon be finished. It will document how the basic elements of boogie woogie---rhythm and improvisation over a blues form--became the backbone of American music. Boogie Stomp!will also tell the story of the two Bobs and their unlikely pairing--two heads, four hands and two pianos that almost blew the roof off that lovely old Gem. The joint was packed, and at curtain's close we were all still standing and cheering. Do yourself a favor...see Boogie Stomp! when it comes 'round again, hopefully during the holidays.Don't just wait for the flick.

In 1938 The Cotton Club Revue featured Cab Calloway and the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. Cab sang and the Hoppers danced to the song "A Lesson In Jive" and it is said the Boogie Woogie dance formed from this.

Calloway Boogie




Piano Player and Funk Brother JOE HUNTER explains AND also see
American Music Research Foundation


Arizona Dranes, a blind piano player, a woman who introduced secular styles like barrelhouse and ragtime to the church's music. "She really was the first person to take secular styles and put words of praise on top of them to make gospel music,". "It was extremely influential because people like Thomas Dorsey — who is correctly considered the father of gospel music — he figured, 'Well, I can take blues and put that to gospel music and come up with something new.' But he has acknowledged her as one of his influences." Corcoran says it wouldn't be quite accurate to call Dranes the mother of gospel — her contribution was more specific than that. Dranes, he says, is responsible for giving gospel its rhythmic identity. In the 1920s, the sound of music in the black church underwent a revolution. Standing at 40th and State Street in Chicago, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was a witness to what occurred. "She was Pentecostal," he says. "She was from the Church of God in Christ. I think they call them 'holy rollers' — they believe in speaking in tongues and really letting it go. Her music totally fit the church: The preachers would preach about spirit possession and then say, 'Here's Arizona Dranes.' And she would show them what they were talking about." Dranes' life isn't well documented. It is known that she grew up in Texas, that she was a student at The Institute for Deaf, Dumb and Blind Colored Youth in Austin, and that she was classically trained.
The high-energy gospel beat of the music that can still be heard in this Pentecostal church is the creation. Dranes recorded her music in 1926. She played her music at Roberts Temple, she influenced people like 11-year-old Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who sat in the congregation and would go on to become a gospel superstar. and listen


ROSETTA THARPE Mother of Rock n Roll

Sister Rosetta Tharpe is credited with being the bridge between Boogie Woogie & Country to Rock and Roll is [more]

Credited with her style of guitar playing as the link from Gospel to the brand new sound called Rock and Roll.

Didn't Rain Children!



Bill Haley and the Comets
Gonna Rip It Up - Boogie Woogie


Rockabilly style was a fusion of Blues and Boogie Woogie by white singers or musicians such as Bill Haley and the Comets, Stompy Jones, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis.