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Boogie Woogie

sun 15 oct 2023
Theme: Jazz

The blues musicians are sitting on piano stools in Moanin’ the Blues on Saturday 14 October at 16:00 CET – Boogie woogie!

Boogie woogie, “Piano Blues”, emerged in the first half of the 20th century and reached the peak of its popularity in the 1940s. Big names include Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Jimmy Yancey and Meade Lux Lewis. Numerous interpretations of Lewis’ Honky Tonk Train Blues have appeared over time.

In the early days, Boogie woogie could mainly be heard in juke joints – bars that were also called barrelhouses (photo).

These were the bars where African Americans met. Here they could drink, eat, dance and gamble. The music form of Boogie woogie is primarily the well-known 12-bar blues scheme. Left and right hands have strictly separated functions. The left usually plays a rhythmic continuous pattern, sometimes a walking bass. The right improvises melodically and syncopically, and also uses repetitive figures. Boogie woogie influenced both Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll. Keith Richard’s guitar licks can already be heard in the music of the piano duo Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson.

Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson are accompanied by an unpretentious drummer, Jimmy Yancey. Yancey was better known as a pianist and his piano music is less predictable – with more variation from the left hand and sometimes with changes of register here and there. Many of his pieces end with the same figure, in E flat, regardless of the key of the piece. His signature.

The last part of the triology is dedicated to Meade Lux Lewis.

Three forms of boogie woogie, all with their own unique characteristics. Jazzz…

Louis Andriessen was inspired by Jimmy Yancey. In 1973 he composed a work for the orchestra De Volharding titled On Jimmy Yancey, . Both parts of this work end with Yancey’s ‘signature’.

Click here for the playlist.

Moanin’ the Blues – Hans Vergeer