2010-03-18: The A B C & D of Boogie Woogie

Metropol, Vienna, Austria

There are 6 characters in “Boogie Woogie“; the A B C & D Of Boogie Woogie showed that four can be really enough for an excellent show: A for Axel (Zwingenberger), B for Ben (Waters), the D for Dave (Green), and of course the C from the Rolling Stones – Charlie Watts.


You must not make the mistake to join one of the rare shows of them just to have the opportunitiy of meeting a Rolling Stone closer than 100 meters; Axel Zwingenberger, together with Vince Weber the Boogie elite from Hamburg, Germany, has not to be introduced – he is probably the musician one associates to Boogie Woogie in the German-speaking part. Ben Waters is, as far as I know, good known in the UK but never has been to Austria before. He even has written a Guide to Rock & Roll Piano and it is really for sure that he is a hell of a RnR and Boogie Woogie piano man. On the bass, Dave Green, a Jazzer who plays with Charlie Watts for many many years, a high quality bassman, whose solos are already worth the gate-money.


Axel opened the show with two boogies, followed by Ben Waters who was the main musician of the first set;  Charlie Watts and Dave Green entered the stage about 20 minutes later. If you look at Ben’s pictures on his website there can’t be more contrast to the real person that night: not that serious guy as he presents himself but roguish he talked to the audience and they really loved his kind of talking and, of course, style of playing. Most of the time he lifted the piano with his knees what made the music literally shake (and roll!). I was so lucky to watch the concert from first row, middle, so you couldn’t get a better place that evening. Charlie Watts for example lost the drum hook wrench several times until he put him in his pocket. To mention Charlie Watts: he is something between the world star in his part of being the drummer of The Rolling Stones and the accostable man he, from my side, actually is. He is so different to his band mate Jagger (who has morphed  into a businessman like Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant was a long time ago). Of course it’s not possible for Charlie to go out for meets and greets after the concert because too many people would crush him of enthusiasm, so he signed a few items directly from the stage and disappeared!  I was so lucky to get even two (thanks to my friend?) and I’m really happy about them, and also having the chance to watch all these great guys so close.  By the way: Charlie Watts played a drum kit which is even older than himself, a Slingerland Radio King from  1940. There are very few of these historic sets known in that quality, this one he lended from one of Austria’s finest drummers in Blues and Jazz,  guess who?


The second part of the show brought a fascinating lady on stage: Lila Ammons, the granddaughter of the Boogie Woogie legend Albert Ammons. She especially came from the USA for these shows and, believe me, she’s worth to go many miles! Lila is an unbelievable person, “talking too much“, as she said about herself but – she’s got it! It’s not just her singing or the way she looks, moves or talks to the audience -  she’s all these facts together. When singing you can hear her love to present the music of icons like Bessie Smith or Sippie Wallace to the people - and that’s the real thing. Let’s hope (and I’m sure it was) she also had enough joy in our country being back soon for longer performances.
Songs played:  Evolution Blues (P. Joseph), Blueberry Hill (A.Domino), Suitcase Blues, Swanee River Boogie (A.Ammons), Jenny Jenny Jenny (Johnson, Enotris,R.Penniman), Oreo Cookie Blues (Lonnie Mack), St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy), amongst many others.


New CDs (both from www.boogiewoogie.net):


Lady sings the Boogie Woogie – Lila Ammons & Axel Zwingenberger


The Magic of Boogie Woogie – Axel Zwingenberger, Charlie Watts, Dave GreenWebsite: www.benwaters.com