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The Boogie Woogie Trio Vol. 1

Meade "Lux" Lewis & Albert Ammons

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Album Review

Although The Boogie Woogie Trio is the title of this two-CD compilation, boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, and Meade "Lux" Lewis are featured as a trio on just 12 of the 45 tracks in this collection. Most of these trio performances come from two transcription sessions made for MacGregor in 1944, with two songs coming from 1939 airchecks originating at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago, with "Boogie Woogie Prayer" and their lively treatment of "St. Louis Blues" standing out as highlights. One error in the notes to this reissue is the omission of Johnson's rhythm section for his set from the 1947 Just Jazz concert in Pasadena, as guitarist Sonny Rogers, bassist Johnny Parker, and drummer Roy Milton are also on hand. Of course, a rhythm section was superfluous for a powerful boogie-woogie interpreter, so Johnson really didn't need any help. Especially noteworthy is Johnson's "Four O'Clock Blues." Likewise, drummer Smokey Stover's name is omitted from Lewis' various early-'50s airchecks from Club Hangover in San Francisco, though a second take of his "Six Wheel Chaser" is newly added. The instrument Lewis is stuck playing in this venue had obviously seen better days, but like many pianists of the day, he made the most of what he had to work with. The second CD focuses on vintage 1939 airchecks from the Hotel Sherman by each of the pianists individually, plus two trio selections. The sound quality is quite good, while all three artists are in top form, with Lewis stealing the show with his fine whistling in his appropriately titled "Whistling Blues." This two-CD set should be considered an essential acquisition for anyone interested in boogie-woogie.

Biography

Born: September 4, 1905 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

One of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson) whose appearance at John Hammond's 1938 Spirituals to Swing concert helped start the boogie-woogie craze, Meade "Lux" Lewis was a powerful if somewhat limited player. He played regularly in Chicago in the late '20s and his one solo record of the time, "Honky Tonk Train Blues" (1927), was considered a classic. However, other than a few sides backing little-known blues singers, Lewis gained little extra work and...
Full Bio
The Boogie Woogie Trio Vol. 1, Meade "Lux" Lewis
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