The genre had already existed for at least ten years before it became a
sensation (1938), and it has at least three "inventors".
Meade Lux Lewis, who was a cab driver for a same Chicago taxi company
(so was his friend Albert Ammons) recorded Honky Tonk Train Blues
in 1927, but the song
was released only two years later (it imitates the sounds of a train in motion).
Jimmy Yancey started recording only in 1939 but was recognized as an influence
by the early boogie pianists.
Clarence "Pinetop" Smith lived only 25 years, but, the year before dying, moved
to the same apartment with Ammons and Lewis and
recorded the archetype: Pinetop's Boogie Woogie (1928),
the first recorded song that referred to the "boogie woogie".
Note that boogie woogie emerged during the years of the Prohibition (1920-1933).
If the title of inventor is disputed, there is no doubt when boogie woogie
became a craze. It was announced by Albert Ammons' Boogie Woogie Stomp (1936), a cover of Pinetop's Boogie Woogie recorded with his Rhythm Kings, and by Pete Johnson, who teamed up
with Kansas City's vocalist "Big" Joe Turner, the ultimate "shouter", for
Roll 'Em Pete (1938), and then exploded after John Hammond assembled
the piano trio of Albert Hammons, Meade Lux Lewis and Pete Johnson
at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1938.
Lewis penned some of the most sophisticated compositions of the boogie era:
Yancey Special (1936),
Whistlin' Blues (1937),
Cafe Society Rag (1939),
Bear Cat Crawl (1940),
Six Wheel Chaser (1940).
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