Boogie-Woogie might be the most fun style of piano. It’s full of energy and joy plus it’s great to dance to. It’s common for people to forget which artists play boogie-woogie piano. Sometimes I get asked, which pianist was famous for the style of boogie-woogie?
Jerry Lee Lewis was a popular white rock and roll artist who made use of the boogie-woogie piano style. Boogie-Woogie piano was an African-American art form played by artists like Albert Ammons, Peter Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis and Jimmy Yacey.
Boogie Woogie piano is a type of Blues music. It became very popular in the 1920s. It was developed in African-American communities in the 1870s. Even though it started with just the piano it eventually expanded to two pianos and then to big band music. It also expanded into country and western music and gospel. You can see it was a very influential style of playing piano.
Even though Blues typically only expresses a small variety of emotions, boogie-woogie is mainly associated with dancing and Boogie Woogie dancing. The really defining part of Boogie Woogie piano is characterized by the left hand bass. when you're playing Boogie Woogie piano you're jumping around with your left hand. The chord progression is typically I-IV-V-I. And for the most part boogie-woogie Tunes are 12 bars Blues.
Check out this early Boogie Woogie record:
If you're interested in Boogie Woogie dancing you can also check out this video:
Boogie Woogie piano is a really exciting genre. It's pretty much impossible to listen to it and not feel happy and want to dance. I once played a Boogie Woogie piano showdown in Iowa City Iowa.
Here's the story of me playing a boogie woogie show in Iowa City. I was playing with a jazz band at that time and we were invited to play a boogie woogie showcase. We were super excited to go and see all the other pianists. It was going to be a Showcase of a bunch of different Boogie Woogie pianists from all over the country.
It was really exciting to meet all those different pianos. There was even a brother and a sister that traveled all the way from Sweden that were experts at dancing Boogie Woogie. It was two nights of shows and it was great to see everyone perform.
We had so much fun hanging out together and going out after the shows. It was really cool to talk with the siblings from Sweden, because it was their first time in the United States. They were super excited and they were huge boogie-woogie fans. Everyone was super nice and all the shows went really well. This is one of the best parts about being a musician, you get to travel all over the place and meet all sorts of really cool people. All the pianos were super talented. Plus the Swedish dancers were incredible.
I learned they were the second best Boogie Woogie dancers in the world. They came in second place at the world championship for Boogie Woogie dancing. I didn't even know there was a competition for that! Apparently their mom wanted them to get along better so she signed them up for a dance class together. They had to practice together all the time and they started to get along better. They were really close by the time I'm at them. I had such a great time in Iowa City!
It was so cool to meet some of the best living Boogie Woogie piano players. They were also talented. And after each show we go out dancing too.This is one of the really cool parts of music is that it brings people together. Everyone was so enthusiastic about what they were doing, it was contagious! But in general Boogie Woogie piano is contagious. It's so cool!
It's amazing how really great music spread so quickly. Boogie Woogie piano influenced all sorts of other genres of music. It really spread throughout the entire United States very quickly. It's amazing how one type of playing piano can affect so many different musicians all over the country. Then it eventually spread all over the world. And that's how you end up with Boogie Woogie Champion dancers in Sweden. Great art is loved by all humans. Now there are people who listen to Boogie Woogie piano all over the world.
It gives me a lot of hope that art can cross borders and Nations. Music and art might be one of our best chances to unite the whole world in a common interest. I know that might sound ridiculous but if you look at how Boogie Woogie spread it might be possible. Because everyone wants to dance when they hear Boogie Woogie piano. If you're enjoying this article, check out this one too:
This is one of my favorite parts about being a musician. You get to spread joy wherever you go. Then you get the to lookout off the stage and see people smiling. And that makes you happy too.
Thank you so much for reading this article, and thanks for reading it all the way to the end. It's fun for me to write about piano and it's fun for me to write about my experiences as a musician. It really means a lot to me that you would read this all the way to the end. I had a lot of fun writing it and reminiscing about that Boogie Woogie piano showdown.
It's experiences like that that make me want to share the joy of music and teach music lessons. When I teach music lessons in Bethany, I don't necessarily want all my students to become musicians. But it would be nice if they could have some of the cool experiences that I have had. Music really is something that opens the door to lots of different experiences. Music and allow you to travel all around the world and share your art!