Charlie Watts is known the world over as the legendary drummer of the Rolling Stones, currently celebrating their 50th anniversary. What many people do not know is that his first love is jazz and he has an affinity for the nearly forgotten boogie woogie. Fortunately for music fans, he has managed to team with like-minded musicians, who also happen to be virtuosos on their respective instruments to form the A, B, C & D of Boogie Woogie. Named for the initials of its members, the band is made up of Axel Zwingenberger on piano, Ben Waters on piano and vocals, Watts on drums and Dave Green on bass.
In September 2010, they were captured live at the Duc Des Lombards jazz club in Paris, the results of which make up their debut album, The A, B, C & D Of Boogie Woogie – Live In Paris.
The show opens with Zwingenberger and Waters dueling pianos on “Bonsoir Boogie!” Bonsoir means “good evening” in French, and what better start to the evening than these two maestros going at it with lightning-fast precision?
Waters, Watts and Green on double bass then take the stage for the next several numbers, beginning with “Evolution Blues.” While the music straddles the line between blues and jazz, Waters’ vocals are pure blues on this laid back track. The band follows this up with a spirited take on the classic “Route 66,” with some fine piano and vocals from Waters.
Not to be outdone by Waters, Zwingenberger returns to the stage for the blistering “Duc De Woogie Boogie.” The two pianists seem to enjoy pushing each other on stage and their performances both benefits from it. All four men take the stage for the last few tracks, including the closing “Encore Stop.” Watts’ cymbals serve as the intro for this barnburner with Waters and Zwingenberger giving every last bit of energy they have in this fitting closer.
Waters has played with Watts in the past, including a tribute album to the late Rolling Stones’ pianist, Ian Stewart, so they have a natural chemistry together. Adding A-level musicians such as Zwingenberger and Green to the mix makes The A, B, C & D Of Boogie Woogie – Live In Paris a no-brainer.