Albert Ammons - 1936-1946 Alternate Takes Radio Performances and Unissued Home Recording
2011 European CD reissue.
Albert Ammons seems to be the pianist who attracts the largest number of boogie woogie fans, even today, 90 years after he was born in Chicago on March 1st, 1907. His playing had a special quality in a very personal way: his exuberant joy and endless power were counter pointed by a longing expression which gave it a blue quality all the way through. Albert’s sound in general was sweeter than either Pete Johnson’s or Meade Lux Lewis’, his piano colleagues of the Boogie Woogie Trio. His untimely death on December 3rd, 1949, at the age of just 42, added a tragic aspect, too. By the time he passed, it was still the era of 78-rpm shellacs, and his chances to record were more limited than they would have been had he lived up to the time of Hi-Fi recording.
Items of unissued material by him are especially rare collector’s stuff, and this Document Records CD contains a considerable number of such. Tracks include 2 alternative takes of the swing Nagasaki and blues-boogie Early Mornin’ Blues. Ammon’s showpiece Boogie Woogie Stomp uses melody lines in rows of thirds. In Boogie In C and Shout for Joy, a single note rumbling bass similar to Johnson’s ‘Blues On The Downbeat’ or ‘Death Ray Boogie’ is played. Blue Blue Blues is built on a similar theme to ‘Blues On My Mind’. Here we find beautiful, melodic, right hand work with some lyrical qualities and a romantic touch, complemented by nicely harmonised left hand figures in stride and rolling tenths boogie bases.
For the last track on this CD, Rock of Gibraltar Blues, Albert Ammons is in the company of the original boss of the blues shouters, Big Joe Turner, with whom he had worked frequently before, especially in the combination with Pete Johnson. Joe’s voice is rich and Albert plays some slowed down boogie.
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