Logo

Lloyd Glenn & Pete Johnson - Boogie Blues

in Los Angeles.

Pinetop's Boogie Woogie - 2.23
Blues Hangover - 2.28
Jungle Twilight - 2.42
Honky Tonk Train Blues - 2.52
After Hours - 2.50
Travelling Time Blues - 2.41
Wrinkle Head Boogie - 2.52
Rock House Boogie - 3.01
Daybreak Stomp - 2.26
Yancey Special - 2.52
Old Time Shuffle - 2.48
Black Fantasy - 2.29

A native of San Antonio, pianist Lloyd Glenn left his mark on the blues scene in Southern California. He moved to Los Angeles in 1942 and played regularly as a sideman, joining T-Bone Walker on the guitarist’s hit “Stormy Monday” and a number of sessions by guitarist Lowell Fulson. In 1947, Glenn launched his group The Joymakers, recording a number of popular records for several labels over the next decade. By the 1960s, Glenn was recording on an irregular basis, yet the pianist still found club work and occasionally backed singer Big Joe Turner. He also revisited some of his earlier hits for a European label in 1974. Lloyd Glenn died in 1985 in Los Angeles.

The ten tracks by Lloyd Glenn & His Joymakers were recorded over several sessions between 1950 and 1951, featuring bassist Billy Hadnott, drummer Bob Harvey (who mostly sticks to brushes) and on some selections, bongo player Earl Burton. Several of the songs were written by other pianists, including Pine Top Smith’s “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie,” featuring Glenn’s potent bass line and his imaginative improvising. He has a lighter touch than Meade Lux Lewis in his approach to Lewis’ “Honky Tonk Train Blues,” opting not to pound the bass line as hard or speed up the tempo too much as Lewis frequently did in later years. Glenn also delivers an exuberant take of Lewis’ “Yancey Special” (a tribute to boogie woogie pioneer Jimmy Yancey). Glenn wrote a number of songs, including “Old Time Shuffle Blues,” which was one of his biggest hits, a loping vehicle with an infectious melody. The use of bongos may have been inspired in part by Nat King Cole’s addition of Jack Costanzo in 1949. “Black Fantasy” lacks the ostinato bass of typical boogie woogie, with Glenn opting for a more traditional swing-like chords in the bass line. sounding very different from the remaining tracks in this collection.

Pete Johnson was one of the top boogie woogie pianists, considered to be one of the most inventive improvisers. The Kansas City native was initially a drummer, but after taking lessons, he switched to piano in 1926. He became a prominent player over the next decade in his hometown, during which he joined forces with blues singer Big Joe Turner, with whom he would collaborate many times over the next three decades. Invited to play in New York City on Benny Goodman’s radio show by John Hammond, the producer invited Johnson to play at his 1938 Spirituals to Swing Concert at Carnegie Hall. Joining forces with fellow pianists Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons, together they formed the Boogie Woogie Trio, which sometimes added Turner on vocals. After Lewis left, Johnson continued to work with Ammons and as a solo act. Following a tour as a part of Piano Parade in 1952 (which also showcased Erroll Garner and Art Tatum), Johnson accidentally cut off part of a little finger while changing a tire. By 1953, Johnson was no longer playing music full-time, though he recorded with singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Turner later in the decade. In 1958, he appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival (accompanied by Jack Teagarden, Buck Clayton and Jo Jones, among others) and took part in a Jazz at the Philharmonic allstar tour with Turner. Johnson suffered a severe stroke shortly afterward and played little until his death following a second stroke in 1967.

Most of Johnson’s early work was either solo, with Ammons and Lewis or Turner. The two tracks from this late 1940s session finds him leading a band with tenor saxophonist Maxwell Davis, guitarist Herman Mitchell, bassist Ralph Hamilton and drummer Jesse Sailes. Even with the prominence of Davis’ boisterous horn in the foreground of “Wrinkle Head Boogie,” it is Johnson’s piano that stands out, with his compelling variations on this riff theme. The group expands to a sextet with the addition of alto saxophonist Jewell Brant in Johnson’s breezy “Rock House Boogie” (“Road House Boogie”?). After the introduction, the horns drop out and Johnson takes charge with his strong improvising, followed by Davis’ gritty solo.

 

 
Template Design © Joomla Templates | GavickPro. All rights reserved.