Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Pete Johnson The St Louis Parties 1954

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Pete Johnson

01 - B. W. thing Listen
02 - Just for you Listen
03 - Story by Pete Johnson Listen
04 - Basin Street blues Listen
05 - Perdido Listen
06 - Boo woo Listen
07 - 12th Street rag Listen
08 - All out (boogie in multiple) Listen
09 - Stardust Listen
10 - C jam blues Listen
11 - Unidentified chorus Listen
12 - All of me Listen
13 - B.W. mixture (B. W. for 2/3/4) Listen
14 - Ramble into just for you Listen
15 - K.C. blues Listen
16 - Harris propelled Listen
17 - Honeysuckle rose Listen
18 - I`m yours Listen
19 - I`m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter Listen
20 - Rosetta Listen
21 - Sweet Lorraine Listen
22 - Body and soul Listen
23 - St. Louis blues Listen
24 - How long how long Listen
25 - Bill`s blues for K.C Listen
26 - Fragment by Pete Listen
27 - Joe Turner medley Listen
28 - Yancey special Listen

Genres: Piano Boogie-woogie, Piano blues.

24 page, illustrated booklet with booklet notes written by Tom Harris, Axel Zwingenberger and Konrad Nowakowski.
Detailed discography.

What a weekend! John Steiner and I had driven to St. Louis from Chicago to hear Pete Johnson play at the Circus Lounge in the Forest Park Hotel. The date was Friday, July 30, 1954. Having never met Pete, I was as excited and nervous as I had been when I first met Albert Ammons in 1948.

We caught all of Pete's sets Friday and Saturday. He played a variety of tunes, tempos and styles (He never was "just" a boogie pianist.). After Friday night's gig, we took Pete to the home of John Phillips, a friend of Steiner's and an important figure on the St. Louis jazz scene. His home included a large basement recreation room complete with grand piano, set of drums and a huge record collection. We jammed into the wee hours. I remember playing a duet, solo and shouting some blues a la Big Joe Turner. Also, Pete played drums during my solo (I've always been an enthusiastic, for the most part self-taught, amateur boogie pianist.).

On Saturday, July 31, we were joined by good friend Charlie Castner and Donald "J. J." Stoll who flew up from Louisville, Kentucky. Charlie and I met in '48 at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. Charlie played the most authentic boogie piano I had ever heard outside of Albert, Pete and Meade Lux Lewis. We still play today - 50 years later. J.J. was an avid Jimmy Yancey piano stylist and an ardent fan.

We spent as much time as possible visiting with Pete who, as luck would have it, invited us to a Sunday party at the St. Louis home of close friend Bill Atkinson, a man blessed with a good rich blues voice. He operated a catering business and set out a terrific spread of food to feed all of the participants and guests.

All music was recorded that day on Magnacord equipment (all tubes and very heavy) by mentor and friend John Steiner, possessor of one of the finest and largest jazz collections in the United States as well as a noted and oft-quoted historian of Chicago style jazz. As this CD attests, it was as fulfilling and musically exciting an afternoon as any boogie fan could ever desire. All of us played - solos, duets, trios, crosshanded - from slow blues to fast and furious stomps and popular tunes on an acoustic spinet piano.

One special image remains: Pete is sitting back in an overstuffed chair listening to the enthusiastic boogie played by the next generation. He was smiling, and so were we.

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