Fresh Air's jazz critic reviews a new CD box set, Boogie Woogie and Blues Piano, featuring remastered recordings from such greats as Chicago's Jimmy Yancy, Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson and more — all solo or in small ensembles.
Pianist and singer Hadda Brooks. In the days following World War II, Brooks was a key figure in the West Coast jazz and blues scene. Her singing led to roles in movies and to a stint hosting a television show; she was the first black woman to earn that distinction. When her style of jazz and boogie woogie piano went into decline in the 50s, Brooks lived and performed overseas. She resumed her career in America in 1987, and was an immediate hit. She's currently appearing at Michael's Pub in New York City with singer Thelma Carpenter. (Interview by Sedge Thomson)
Willy Perryman, better known as Piano Red, is a pianist who has been playing the blues and boogie woogie since the 1920s when he got his start playing rent parties in Georgia. Piano Red also hosted a live radio show on WAOK in Atlanta where he was known as "Dr. Feelgood." He began touring internationally in the 1970s and is in town to play several concerts.