Transcribing and then accurately representing blues and jazz piano licks is notoriously difficult. Here is a list of good quality books that you can use a guide, supplemented with lots of listening to recorded performances to really understand how the masters perform the style.
The Beginners section contains a selection of tutorial books and DVDs if you are new to boogie woogie and New Orleans piano. These will not necessarily teach you the basics of piano or reading music so some playing ability is required.
The intermediates/advanced section is alphabetically ordered by book and site name. It contains links to sites, books and individual pieces either arranged for boogie woogie or New Orleans piano, or lovingly transcribed from original recordings.
Blues & Barrelhouse piano – book and DVD by Ann Rabson. Breaks down the basics and doesn’t require you to be able to read music. Ann knows her stuff and plays with a great feel.
Boogie Woogie Piano: Riffs Vol 1 Left Hand Bass Patterns by Simon Tyler – a directory of 60 bass patterns to learn including downloadable audio examples.
Boogie and Blues Piano DVD – Louis Vause and Seamus Beaghan. This DVD and 24 page booklet covers the essentials such as the blues scale, basic boogie left hand, riffs for the right hand and plenty more.
Boogie Woogie for Beginners by Frank Paparelli – great introductory overview of the essentials to get your started including arrangements of some famous classic tracks e.g. Answer to the Prayer by Meade Lux Lewis.
Boogie Woogie Piano – The Complete Guide. Hal Leonard keyboard style series. This is a really great introductory book and covers all the beginner essentials.
Boogie-Woogie press’ Learn Boogie Woogie Piano – Colin Davey. This book will teach you to play, improvise and compose in the style of the Boogie Woogie Trio of Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson. Contains excerpts of their songs and a complete song by Colin Davey.
How to Play Boogie Woogie Piano – by Arthur Migliazza and Dave Rubin. Contains over 150 transcriptions and over 130 downloadable audio tracks covering Arthur’s piano teaching method
Improvising Blues Piano – a classic that covers the fundamentals in a way that lets you build up your skills and confidence gradually. Available as a book and now on MusicGurus as an online course.
Joy of Boogie and Blues – I had the pleasure of learning from this book as a child. Some simple versions of well known boogie songs to get you up and running.
She Plays Boogie Woogie and Blues Piano – Ulrike Gaate and Jan Preston. Written by two professional boogie woogie pianists, this is an unusual book in that it focuses on how pianists with smaller hands – not just girls – can adapt left hand patterns and techniques. It covers all the basics too.
The Little Blues and Boogie Piano Book – Ulrike Gaate and Joja Wendt. This book combines boogie woogie, blues, rock and rock ‘n’ roll. It provides well structured information, tips and eight original transcriptions including by Hersal Thomas, Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Jimmy Yancey.
Totally Boogie Woogie: A Guide to Playing Boogie Woogie Piano by Simon Tyler – everything to get you started including structure, timing, left hand bass patterns, right-hand riffs, turnarounds and endings.
Intermediate to advanced
All American Boogie Woogie – intermediate level songs arranged in a boogie woogie style rather than boogie piano classics.
Al Levy is a pianist with a large site containing lots of songs in midi format that you can order as sheet music. The Eight to the bar section includes Freddy Slack, Pinetop Smith, Jay McShann and Mary Lou Williams. There’s also a page for duets. Elsewhere on the site provides transcripts by Hazel Scott including Hazel’s Boogie.
Axel Zwingenberger – Boogie Woogie Piano Solos. Transcripts of Axel’s own songs which you can order through his publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barrelhouse and Boogie Piano – Eric Kriss. A great selection of transcripts including artists such as Cow Cow Davenport, Cripple Clarence Lofton, Meade Lux Lewis and Memphis Slim.
Blue Black Jazz – boogie-woogie, stride and blues piano transcripts. Really great selection from the greats like Albert Ammons to Cecil Gant, Sammy Price and more. Single songs as well as collections such as ’17 Boogie-woogie & Blues Piano Solos’ Vols 1-3.
Blues Piano Sheets – a mix of free and for purchase blues and boogie woogie sheet music, including artists such as Dr John, Otis Spann, Ann Rabson, Pinetop Perkins and Vince Weber. Run by Greg, a Kiwi living in Australia, the site also contains lots of great tips and links.
Boogie Woogie: Jazz Piano Solos Series – a Hal Leonard offering of 22 songs, including tracks by ALbert Ammons, Big Maceo Merriweather , Meade Lux Lewis, Jimmy Yancey and more.
Boogie Woogie Press – Colin Davey’s site sells a number of note for note transcripts by Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson.
Claude Bolling – Original Boogie Woogie for piano. Some great versions of the classics.
Davespianolessons – David Ratcliffe was lucky enough to study with Mary Lou Williams and is a teacher. His beautiful transcript of Relaxin by Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith is kindly provided for free.
Dr John Teaches New Orleans Piano – the complete package of 3 books written by the late Dr John to support you with mastering the New Orleans school of piano, including access to audio demonstration.
Hannes Otahal – pianist Hannes has various pieces for sale on his site including Boogie Woogie Walker, Anitra’s Dance and Bumble Boogie.
Henri Herbert – pianist Henri has various pieces for sale on his site including ‘Henri’s Boogie’ and ‘Gettin’ on Down’.
The James Booker Collection – classic Booker, beautifully transcribed by Josh Paxton, if you fancy getting your teeth into some outrageously difficult New Orleans piano.
Jazz, Blues, Boogie & Swing for Piano – ‘original sheet music’, rather than transcripts of recordings, but nevertheless a wide-ranging collection including tracks by Albert Ammons and James P Johnson.
Jazz In Notes – the blues, boogie and ragtime section of this site includes transcripts of pieces by Dr John, Silvan Zingg and Montana Taylor.
Jazz Piano Transcriptions is run by Dr Ian Pallister. There’s a boogie version of All of Me available. If you enjoy stride and ragtime as well then check out his gorgeous transcripts of James Booker songs too.
Many Midi – a site run by Elmo Peeler with lots of boogie woogie sheet music and transcriptions. The ‘Note for note piano transcriptions‘ section is alphabetical by artist, so is a mixed bag you will need to read through. There is also a separate Boogie Woogie sheet music section. Elmo also offers a transcription service and lessons.
New Orleans Jazz Piano Solos – a Hal Leonard offering of arrangements of some of the well known NOLA classics such as Basin Street blues and King Porter Stomp.
New Orleans Piano Legends – Another great collection from the folks at Hal Leonard featuring 11 transcriptions from Jelly Roll Morton, Tuts Washington and more.
New Orleans Piano Styles: A Guide to the Keyboard Licks of Crescent City Greats – Todd Lowry. A guide to the different artist styles throughout the history of New Orleans piano, to help you incorporate the vibes of Toussaint, Butler et al into your own playing.
Oktav Music – a music publishing site which contains ‘original sheet music’ by various artists including Winifred Atwell (Five Finger Boogie, Dixie Boogie), Pinetops Boogie Woogie by Pinetop Smith, Pia’s Boogie by Pia Beck, Honky Tonk Train Blues by Meade Lux Lewis, Panic Attack and The Hand That Changed Its Mind by Jools Holland, GI Jive by Johnny Mercer and Poor Old Mr Woogie by Chas n Dave. These tend to be interpretations and arrangements rather than transcripts of recordings so are of varying quality.
Oscar Peterson – Note for note transcriptions of classic recordings. This book and CD contains 18 pieces which are a mix of jazz and blues but importantly contains the blisteringly fast ‘Oscar’s Boogie’.
Piano Blues Review – a site run by Charles Grogan which lists a large number of transcripts as being prepared. Charles was kind enough to allow me to purchase his draft of Ma Grinder which is of excellent quality.
Professor Longhair Collection – very good transcripts of classic ‘Fess New Orleans piano classics.
Spread the Jam ebook – help and tips on jamming with other musicians by Big Joe Kennedy.