The origin of the word "boogie-woogie" is a reference to the rhythm of the train wheels (tadam… tadam… tadam…)
The boogie-woogie tradition lives on in the Chicago blues and a few contemporary pianists who specialize in this style
Bhe boogie-woogie rhythm strongly influenced the beginnings of rock 'n' roll.
Boogie-woogie is a pianistic style peculiar to jazz, consisting in playing the primitive blues on a fast rhythm, punctuating it with a constant accompaniment formula by the play of the left hand which strikes the same measure in triplets
The basic rhythm of the boogie-woogie is given by the bass, which is inspired by the playing of the blues guitar bass. Generally interpreted in the low register, the bass is an ostinato played in eighth notes (eight-to-the-bar, or "8 notes per measure"). Pianists sometimes use an alternating bass and chord playing in the middle of the piano ("stride bass"), a technique that appeared in ragtime,
Boogie-woogie is the only piano music specifically from the blue
At the beginning of the 20th century, in Texas, black pianists developed a faster, rhythmic form of the blues, which they played in the barrel house and honky tonk of Texas.
The first recorded boogie was The Rocks by George W. Thomas in 1923, but it was with Clarence "Pine Top" Smith that the expression "boogie-woogie" appeared, with the recording in 1928 of Pinetop's Boogie Woogie.
During the Great African-American migration during the years 1920 to 1930 towards the big industrial cities of the north, the pianists of the barrel houses will follow the movement to settle in Chicago, Detroit, New York. To cope with poverty and make ends meet, African-Americans organize "house rent parties" 7 (rent meetings) where boogie pianists stand out.
The first recorded boogie was The Rocks by George W. Thomas in 1923, but it was with Clarence "Pine Top" Smith that the expression "boogie-woogie" appeared, with the recording in 1928 of Pinetop's Boogie Woogie. Following this recording, the term boogie-woogie becomes a generic word to designate the various pieces of this easily recognizable style of music.
On December 23, 1938, John Hammond organized for a concert called From Spirituals to Swing at Carnegie Hall in New York where, next to Count Basie and Big Joe Turner, appeared on the program Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis.
The boogie-woogie then crosses the barrier of "races" and genres. Little by little, jazz pianists integrate into their repertoire one or two boogie-woogies: Count Basie (Boogie Woogie), Earl Hines (Boogie Woogie On St. Louis Blues), Art Tatum (St. Louis Blues), Mary Lou Williams (Roll 'Em), Lionel Hampton and Milt Buckner (Hamp's Boogie Woogie), etc. Mary Lou Williams who, she says, wrote the first big band boogie-woogie: Roll'Em, composed for Benny Goodman around 1937.
Other big bands are taking their turn, such as Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey. The boogie-woogie is also suitable for singing (The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald, The Ink Spots, Cow Cow Boogie) or for guitar (T-Bone Walker, T-Bone Boogie, or the multiple versions of Arthur's Guitar Boogie Smith to Tommy Emmanuel via The Shadows and Matt Murphy
Rock bands like Canned Heat, ZZ Top (Tube Snake Boogie (en)) or Status Quo claim to be boogie