A Boogie Woogie Dream


After many years it finally happens. A dream comes true. In a wonderful way, pleasantly strained and with a high expectation pattern, I descend in style, light hearted, warm blooded and hand in hand with an elegant, pretty lady, the six steps, which lead us into the jazz club. Most of the tables near the stage, where you can sit in armchairs or be standing to, are already taken by eating, drinking and talking club guests. With, carefully estimated, seventy people, the notable club is pretty well crowded. In its half darkness we discover, as if especially reserved for us, two free stools at the bar. With a leather seat and -thank goodness!- a backrest. We order from the bartender, to whom we immediately afterwards show our backs to by turning our seats with one hundred and eighty degrees. Thus I have a splendid view on the upright piano, of which the eighty-eight black and in particular the white keys are shining in bright spotlights.

It’s 21:00 hours and just before the show starts, I close, hands relaxed on the knees, my eyes. Then the first tones of Albert Ammons’ “Boogie Rocks” resound. It is, in my imagination, no problem to identify the beautifully rolling bass patterns of the left hand, which elicit an almost growling sound coming out of the inside of the piano, and the almost inimitable intertwined varied melody of the right hand.

As by definition my left leg moves as properly as possible into the rhythm. These tones give me the thrill that I previously could only hope for. When it is finished, the loud applause is not awaited, but immediately followed by “Boogie Woogie Stomp”. A piece, performed with even more power and speed. The third -slower- “Chicago in Mind” is also  one of my favorite tunes. When after at least five magical, musically almost heavenly minutes, the long final chord mingles with loud applause and encouraging shouts of the audience, the woman next to me softly touches my arm and whispers in my ear: “Do you like it?” I open my eyes, take a more active attitude and, emphatically nodding “yes”, I realize:

“No, it is not February 21, 1939 at the famous Café Society[1], 2 Sheridan Square, Greenwich Village, New York, USA, but March 25, 2011 at the Hot House Jazz Club, Am Stadtgarten 1 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

And no, it is not Albert Ammons, but Axel Zwingenberger, who gets an “A” grade for the impassioned replay of Albert’s boogie woogie legacy. The consumption on the bar behind me is not a scotch either, but a German beer.


But the lovely woman next to me, with whom I  expectantly descended the stairs not even half an hour ago, is fortunately real. She is my wife.




Just feeling ready to explore Axel Zwingenberger and his music now? Click on Amazon.com

How about “Boogie Woogie Stomp”, Albert Ammons and his Music, a book about the Master, his life and his music? Click on this link: Amazon.com

[1] “The wrong place for the Right people”, where the famous boogie woogie trio Albert Ammons, Meade “Lux” Lewis and Pete Johnson performed for almost four years.

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