Various Artists, The Solo Art Story, Volume 1 (Piano Blues and Boogie 1938-39) (Solo Art)

Among the more interesting items in George Buck’s massive catalogue of classic jazz are a good number of recordings of the founders of boogie-woogie. Local pianist Lars Edegran has combed the files to help issue a collection which will appeal to the newcomer to boogie as well as the veteran listener scavenging for rarities.

The great pioneering quartet of the idiom is well-represented. Pete Johnson shows his relative sophistication in five tracks, and Meade Lux Lewis gets three juicy numbers. Two pianists who foreshadowed New Orleans masters are here too: Albert Ammons was Fats Domino’s hero, while Jimmy Yancey shows the tresillo (a.k.a. rumba) bass that Professor Longhair would use later to such marvelous ends.

Art Hodes, one of the first white musicians to play this music with authority, has two wonderful tracks, and Cripple Clarence Lofton, one of those shadowy figures that seem to abound in early jazz, gets six, which are the most eccentric and in some ways the most satisfying cuts here.

Boogie Woogie’s day in the national spotlight was brief, but it resonated for many years through later pianists like Fats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Johnny Johnson and other rockers. This collection is a succinct intro for those interested in one of the wellsprings of New Orleans music.