Recorded live at a chic club in Paris, this tour de force of four world-class players takes off with “Bonsoir Boogie!” and rips through 14 mostly original tracks of the most complicated—and sometimes fastest—music ever written. Axel (the “A”) Zwingenberger discovered boogie woogie after playing piano for 11 years. Amazed at the left hand work and the chord structure, he said, “It’s so demanding technically. Plus, to do all that swing, all that drive—that’s really high class piano playing.”
Charlie (“C”) Watts, said, “It’s really very joyous music. That’s why you play it.” Big Joe Turner’s “Roll ’em Pete,” and the ABC&D’s “Duc de Woogie Boogie” certainly fall under the “joyous” category, and even W. C. Handy’s classic “St. Louis Blues” receives a lighter treatment from the two pianists, Zwingenberger and Ben (“B”) Waters, with Dave (“D”) Green providing a tuneful bass solo.
“You create an intense swing, a sound,” Zwingenberger explained, “trying to play the groove as intensely as possible to get the audience into that groove.” The groove, which Watts describes as “the train,” can work to the audience’s disadvantage. When I was in my car, getting lost in the groove of “Down the Road a Piece,” a state trooper stopped to inform me I was doing 78 in a 55 mph zone. Watts (who doesn’t drive) suggested using the album as a defense, but Zwingenberger said, “Maybe the musicians get seven percent of your fine.”
Bottom line is, I highly recommend this album, but not while operating heavy machinery. It’s got one helluva groove.
– Suzanne Cadgene
For more on Charlie Watts, check out our exclusive interview with him in the September/October issue of Elmore Magazine, available soon!