Albert Ammons

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Albert Ammons
Birth name Albert C. Ammons
Born September 23, 1907(1907-09-23)
Origin United States Chicago, Illinois
Died December 2, 1949(1949-12-02) (aged 42)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Jazz, blues, boogie-woogie
Occupations Pianist
Years active 1920s–1949
Labels Vocalion, Blue Note, Delmark, Mercury

Albert Ammons (*September 23, 1907 in Chicago, Illinois – †December 2, 1949 in Chicago) was an important American blues - and boogie woogie pianist.

Life[change | edit source]

Ammons was the son of a couple which both played piano. So he started at the age of ten with piano lessons. After the First World War he became interested in blues. He was influenced by Hersal Thomas and Jimmy Yancey. At the beginning of the 1920s he worked as taxi driver where he met another pianist, Meade Lux Lewis. They formed a team and played at clubs and parties.

In 1934 he formed his own band Albert Ammons's Rhythm Kings. Their version of Swanee River Boogie sold over a million copies. Later he went to New York where he teamed with another pianist, Pete Johnson. They often played at the Café Society. Sometimes they were joined by Meade Lux Lewis. But they also played there with famous jazz musicians like Benny Goodman or Harry James.

1938 Ammons, Lewis and Johnson played at the From Spirituals to Swing concert on December 23, 1938. This concert was the start of the public interwest in boogie woogie. One visitor was record producer Alfred Lion who started two weeks later Blue Note Records with recordings of Ammons and Johnson, nine Ammons solos including "The Blues" and "Boogie Woogie Stomp", eight by Lewis and a pair of duets.

After the interest in boogie fade Albert Ammons had still a lot of work. He went on tours as solo artist. Ammons's played at President Harry S. Truman's inauguration in 1949. He died on December 2, 1949 in Chicago.

A lot of pianist like Dave Alexander, Dr. John, Hadda Brooks, Johnnie Johnson, Ray Bryant, Erroll Garner, Katie Webster and Axel Zwingenberger named Ammons as main influence. Axel Zwingenberger recorded a tribute album A Tribute To Albert Ammons celebrating his 100th birthday in 2007.