Clarence “Pine Top”[1] Smith[2], Meade “Lux” Lewis and Albert Ammons were the first men to play what is called “boogie woogie” on a piano in 1928. Later on Pete Johnson joined Meade and Albert to become the famous “Boogie Woogie Trio”, the most exciting and greatest masters in this kind of limited music. Their live performances (In New York’s Carnegie Hall among many others) and radio broadcasts caused a real hype all over the United States.

Especially in their first decade these guys lifted boogie woogie to an almost unbelievable high level, playing individually as well as “quatre main”. On “You Tube” you can find a few black and white performances, giving an idea how great these “professors of boogie woogie”[3] once were. In the early forties of last century the music became kind of over commercialized and after World War II the audience more or less lost their interest.

I got addicted to this type of music since 1974 and I succeeded in collecting most of their CD’s. Meade, Pete and Albert’s music is the backbone of my boogie woogie collection. Limited again, as there will be no more new releases because they are all past away long ago.

Yet I wanted to learn more about these pioneers and their music. How about reading? It did not take long to find a book about “Albert Ammons and his Music: “Boogie Woogie Stomp”, written by Christopher I. Page. I ordered and paid for it in advance right away.

Usually there are four to five shipping days between the United States and the Netherlands. After 10 days, however,  the book still had not arrived. So I decided to call the editors, the Northeast Ohio Jazz Society in Cleveland, Ohio, for an update of my order. A very friendly woman answered my question right away: “Yes, I remember! I shipped the book to Holland myself.” I told her that I had not got it yet. “Oh”, she replied, “I am so sorry. But as I always believe people on their word until proven otherwise, I will send you another copy!” “Thank you very much, that is so very kind of you”, I told her, words that came from the bottom of my heart. She said: “It will be my pleasure because  the book is a real treat.” She added: “Would you like to have it signed?” For a second I thought she was going to do that herself, but she explained: “You are lucky, because Mr. Page, the writer, is here just now!” Of course I agreed. I heard her and a man’s voice mumbling  in the background.

When she came back on the phone, I once more showed her my gratitude and after she had correctly repeated my address, I said: “When I get two books after all, I will send the unsigned copy to you by return of mail!”

Five days later the signed book came in. Printed on quality paper it has a beautiful lay out. The 282 pages biography about Albert Ammons, his family, his companions, whereabouts and his music, is detailed and completed with many rare and unique pictures.

When the missing book accidently ends its journey in your mailbox, you will have a black as well as a colourful treasure for in your bookcase, though not paid for and unsigned.

[1] His mother gave him this nickname, because he -as a young boy- used to climb in trees many times.

[2] Clarence Smith got accidently killed by a bullet from a nearby fight in 1928. His musical output are only 11 numbers.

[3] On a radio broadcast Albert and Meade were addressed to as “the professors Ammons and Lewis”.

The book “Boogie Woogie Stomp”  about Albert Ammons is still available: click here: Amazon.com

Here you will go right to one of his CD’s: Click on Amazon.com

4 thoughts on “Boogie woogie stomp

  1. Leuke reactie van de medewerkster. Een nieuw exemplaar sturen en ook nog voorzien van de naam van de schrijver. Is het ongesigneerde boek nog aangekomen?

    1. Nooit aangekomen. Ik heb wel even met die mevrouw over mijn reizen en waarom in Ohio gesproken. Dat heeft wel geholpen!
      Bedankt voor je reactie en als je het boek wilt lezen…ik heb het uit!
      Johan

  2. I love music, and mostly oldies, but I enjoyed reading the article, very informative and exciting to read, the narratives are awesome. Wishing you much success.

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