If you’ve never come across this style and want to find out more then start with the amazing piano of Big John Carter. He’s one of the best and most authentic players around and rolls that left hand like no other! This clip is from the UK Boogie-Woogie Festival.
Do you have to be an adult to play this style? No! Here’s Nirek Mokar ‘the boogie kid’ with some amazing playing, and a very talented young lady filmed in Australia playing Henri Herbert’s ‘Getting on Down’, which is available to buy via the link on our sheet music page.
Explore the artists
Below are some key boogie-woogie players listed by era for you to explore. Visit our Artists page for a more detailed list. Most have songs available on web streaming services.
‘First generation’ players are so called as they were around prior to c1930. They include: Cow Cow Davenport, Jimmy Yancey and Pinetop Smith.
‘Second generation’ players from the 1930s onwards is all about the boogie-woogie giants known as ‘The Boogie Woogie Trio’ of Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson. Key female pianists from the 1940s onwards include Hadda Brooks, Camille Howard and Hazel Scott.
‘Boogie-woogie revival’ pianists who reignited interest in the genre in Europe from the 1970s onwards include Axel Zwingenberger and Vince Weber.
Contemporary artists currently performing around the globe are listed on our Artists page with their country indicated.
Can girls play boogie-woogie piano?
Hell yeah! Our Artists page shines a spotlight on some of the incredible female boogie-woogie pianists past and present. Here’s a taster from the wonderful Katharina Alber.
Get started with playing
The Beginner’s section on our sheet music page suggests some really great books which will help you get started with playing this style in no time. There’s intermediate to advanced material on there too, including note for note transcripts, and resources about transcribing.
If you are serious about learning the style, then you will learn faster and most authentically by studying directly under a performing musician. Many pianists listed on our Artists page teach so try dropping one an email to ask.
Some boogie pianists also have pre-recorded lessons available on MusicGurus such as Paddy Milner and Tom Seals.
Join the community
There’s some very active and friendly boogie-woogie online groups you can join. Here’s a selection with more coming soon:
- Bayoogie Club run by wonderful pianist Christian Christl. You can subscribe to get access to tutorials, streams of concerts, artist interviews and more.
- Blues-Piano, Boogie-Piano New Oreans piano (Facebook)
- Boogie Woogie (Facebook) run by fab pianist Eeco Rijken Rapp
- Boogie Woogie Piano (Facebook)
- Boogie Woogie and Barrelhouse Piano (Facebook)
- Radiating the 88s (Facebook) – piano blues from Blues Matters magazine
Dig into the history
There are a few key sites which provide fantastic information about the origins of boogie woogie piano:
- Boogie-woogie.com and The Boogie Woogie Foundation provide a large number of articles, both run by musician John Tennison.
- Chicago Southside Piano run by a number of piano giants including Michael Hortig and Bob Hall.
- Austin, Texas is the birthplace of boogie-woogie and Boogiemarshall.com has some great articles and a video on boogie history.
The Story of Boogie-Woogie – A Left Hand Like God is probably the definitive book but it is now out of print and can be expensive to buy. If your library doesn’t have a copy then try your luck with finding a second hand one. Profiles linked to from our Artists page also link to books about specific pianists.