"Explosively memorable. This show is the most satisfying theatre experience everyone should have the opportunity to see. Get your mojo working and fire it up, with Boogie Stomp!" - The Knockturnal

    The show is inspired by Mr. Baldori’s professional relationship with Chuck Berry, who is labeled as one of the greatest pioneers in Rock n’ Roll history. The three elements that paved the way for rock n’ roll were experimentation with rhythm, syncopation, and improvisation, and the show uses a historically musical timeline to demonstrate each of these.The charismatic and playful banter between Baldori and Migliazza throughout Boogie Stomp! make the show all the more endearing to watch, as well as intrigue its audience members with the history behind the birth of blues and boogie-woogie music.

    It is the combination of Bob Baldori’s warm humor with soulful harmonica playing and the cool & effortless presence of Arthur Migliazza at the piano that makes Boogie Stomp! a show you won’t want to miss. The smooth yet zesty flow that this show contains transforms its show-goers into keen & attentive, desirable eared audience members.

    Get your mojo working and fire it up, with Boogie Stomp!

    "Boogie Stomp! Transcends being simply a concert and becomes a meaningful and completely engaging exploration of the connection between history, art, pop culture and craftsmanship." - Theatre Is Easy.com
    BOTTOM LINE: Two colossal piano talents bring America’s forgotten music—Boogie Woogie and Blues—roaring back to life.
    ettling into my seat, I wonder how a couple of guys and their pianos are going to create a two hour show, especially for crowds whose music appreciation comes from scrolling through their iPhones. But audiences are in the tremendously skilled hands of Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza. Detroit-bred Baldori, who took up the piano when he was three, has played with many musical legends including Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, John Hammond and Bo Diddley. Baldori wrote and directed the 2012 documentaryBoogie Stomp, which inspired this production. Joining him on stage in his dapper fashions is Migliazza, a professional pianist since the age of 13 and a two-time International Blues Challenge finalist. Of their New York run Baldori cracks, “We finally made it here to the peep shows of 8th Avenue.”
    Baldori and Migliazza possess a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to the origins of boogie woogie and blues, which of course features many African-American musicians who were either never known or have become forgotten by all but hardcore blues and jazz fanatics. The duo share background throughout on the songwriters they include, but not so that it becomes overwhelming or turns the evening into a lecture.
    Starting from the earliest days of the sound, they let loose on “Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues”  by Earl “Fatha”  Hines, a jazz pianist and Chicago band leader. Greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were members of the Hines big-band. As a very young kid in Chicago, Baldori saw Sonny Boy Williamson, who is considered the Godfather of the blues harp (harmonica) and wrote “Shake the Boogie”  before he was murdered and another musician, Rice Miller, claimed his name and sound. Maldori is on the harmonica here while Migliazza works the piano, the two speaking/singing. Another songwriter who is showcased—Hersal Thomas—wrote “Suitcase Blues”  before dying at age 20.
    There are also easily recognizable songs in the repertoire like Waters’s “Got My Mojo Working,”  which they encourage the audience to sing along to. We enthusiastically join in, some even barking when Maldori directs us. Chuck Berry gets a couple of shout-outs with “I’m So Glad I’m Living in the USA”  and “School Days,”  which Baldori fascinatingly demonstrates is a “note for note”  rock version of “Honkey Tonk Train Blues,”  written by Meade Lux Lewis in the 1920s, minus the guitar and lyrics.
    My favorite moment of the night was one they say is improvised from the times when they’ve turned up to gigs and there’s only one piano. As Baldori explains, “Normally we call it four hands but since we’re in New York we thought we would call it foreplay.”  They sit next to each other on the single bench although at various points Migliazza moves about, hilariously sitting behind Baldori while never pausing his playing. He also shows off his dance skills when Baldori plays solo and afterward jokes, “I almost started twerking. But you need the VIP tickets to see that.”
    Campana, Gostkowski and choreographer Trina Mills have put together a rollicking show, working without a story and really only the musicians, their instruments and clips from the documentary to fill out the performance. With the joy and enthusiasm that Baldori and Migliazza exude, it transcends being simply a concert and becomes a meaningful and completely engaging exploration of the connection between history, art, pop culture and craftsmanship.
    "This show gets every audience member dancing in their seat. Boogie Stomp! is two hours of non-stop fun." - Theaterscene.net

    Boogie Woogie, that classic blend of Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Jazz, is back in New York City, thanks to John Campana’s Boogie Stomp!, featuring pianists extraordinaire Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza.

    First rising to fame in the early 1920’s, Boogie Woogie led the way for pop music in America in the 20th Century. A collection of classic hits that defined the genre as it is today, Boogie Stomp! is two hours of non-stop fun. From Muddy Waters to Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly and Benny Goodman, there is an eclectic enough offering in this show to get every audience member dancing in their seat.

    Performed by two bonafide Boogie Woogie experts, Baldori and Migliazza are positioned on stage next to each other in front of their dueling grand pianos. With a lifetime of experience in the business, Baldori has played with Chuck Berry for the past 40 years in over 100 performances. This is evident in his stylings, technique, and from the hilarious and entertaining stories that are told in between songs. As his counterpart, Migliazza is a skilled and formidable musical opponent. Together the two take turns singing, playing the piano or keyboard, or cracking jokes to the audience to vary the pace.

    Though the musicians are both technical and impressive throughout the entire evening, the most exciting and powerful moment of the evening is when Baldori breaks out his harmonica for a passionate and bluesy solo, while Migliazza leads the way on piano. In general, the evening is filled with a variety of songs that transcend genres and succeed in keeping things interesting. The pacing of the show is also expertly cultivated, and slower jazz tunes are bookended by upbeat dance tunes and crowd pleasing American Classics.

    Presented in Midtown, The Elektra Theater is an intimate space that has a classic vibe to it: that of the old late-night Jazz venues that didn’t rely on huge sound systems but rather the acoustic design of the space. Catering to nostalgia for a time when pop music was still young and much more influential, Boogie Stomp! is an enjoyable ride that succeeds in demonstrating the timelessness of the classic songs that paved the way for the contemporary music of today.

    "BOOGIE STOMP! is a journey you will be glad you took – educational, inspirational, and just plain fun." - ELJNYC.com

    You will have to search far and wide to find two pianists more talented than Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza. In John Campana’s BOOGIE STOMP these guys tear up two pianos as they take you on a musical odyssey through the history of Boogie Woogie. Defining this music genre as Rhythm, Improvisation, and Syncopation over the Blues, this 100-year journey includes songs influenced and perfected by the likes of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Benny Goodman, Louis Prima, and many more legends. And it’s not just fantastic piano music you will hear. Baldori blows a mean harmonica and is handy with a more modern keyboard. Having worked with Chuck Berry for years, he is full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes along with a plentiful supply of corny jokes. He plays sublimely off of the younger Migliazza, both verbally and musically. There is no doubt that these two are thoroughly relishing what they are doing, and they work diligently to make sure that you enjoy it too. The whole experience is enhanced by vintage video projections and pictures.

    BOOGIE STOMP is a journey you will be glad you took – educational, inspirational, and just plain fun.

    – Laurie Lawson –

 

  • Chautauqua Institution
  • Chautauqua, New York
  • Reviews
    • Fantastic!!

      Fantastic!! They kept he audience out late Lovin it.
      Bob and Arthur put on an energized and riveting show that kept our audience engaged throughout the evening. We clapped and smiled through a concert that was both educational and uplifting.

      Deborah Sunya Moore
      Vice President and Director of Programming
      Chautauqua Institution

  • Elektra Theater 2015
  • New York, New York
  • Reviews
    • LIVELY ARTS

      Richmond Shephard / Lively Arts

      Read at: lively-arts.com

      BOOGIE STOMP, written by John Campana,    is one of the best, most entertaining shows in town.    Two virtuoso pianists, Arthur Migliazza and Bob Baldori, take us on a musical trip thru the past ninety years of American music, showing us, in brilliant duo-piano renditions, the influence Boogie Woogie has played in Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, jazz, pop music, and even Big Band music. There’s an amazing “St. Louis Blues.”
      From chord one, and through the show, I had to restrain myself from jumping up and dancing. These guys have the fastest fingers in the west, they sing, and Bob does a harmonica riff that’s like a Picasso painting- abstract, clear, and exciting. He’s a master.    The intricate point, counter point of these two delightful piano magicians gives us a musical feast.   It is directed with great flair by Kirk Gostowski. What a Show!

      At the Elektra Theatre,
      300 W. forty-third St., Wed

    • ELJNYC.com

      Boogie Stomp!

      “..is a journey you will be glad you took – educational, inspirational, and just plain fun.”

      View at: ELJNYC.com

      by Laurie Lawson


      You will have to search far and wide to find two pianists more talented than Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza. In John Campana’s BOOGIE STOMP these guys tear up two pianos as they take you on a musical odyssey through the history of Boogie Woogie. Defining this music genre as Rhythm, Improvisation, and Syncopation over the Blues, this 100-year journey includes songs influenced and perfected by the likes of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Benny Goodman, Louis Prima, and many more legends. And it’s not just fantastic piano music you will hear. Baldori blows a mean harmonica and is handy with a more modern keyboard. Having worked with Chuck Berry for years, he is full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes along with a plentiful supply of corny jokes. He plays sublimely off of the younger Migliazza, both verbally and musically. There is no doubt that these two are thoroughly relishing what they are doing, and they work diligently to make sure that you enjoy it too. The whole experience is enhanced by vintage video projections and pictures.

      BOOGIE STOMP is a journey you will be glad you took – educational, inspirational, and just plain fun.

      – Laurie Lawson –

    • THEATER SCENE.com

      Boogie Stomp!

      Read at: TheaterScene.com

      by Joel Benjamin

      Filled from beginning to end with timeless American classics, this musical revue praises the songs
      of the past that defined the modern music of today.

      Posted on October 20, 2015 by Ryan Mikita in Jazz, Music, Musicals, Off­Broadway

      Boogie Woogie, that classic blend of Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Jazz, is back in New York City,
      thanks to John Campana’s Boogie Stomp!, featuring pianists extraordinaire Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza.

      First rising to fame in the early 1920’s, Boogie Woogie led the way for pop music in America in
      the 20th Century. A collection of classic hits that defined the genre as it is today, Boogie Stomp! is two hours of non­stop fun. From Muddy Waters to Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly and Benny Goodman, there is an eclectic enough offering in this show to get every audience
      member dancing in their seat.

      Performed by two bonafide Boogie Woogie experts, Baldori and Migliazza are positioned on stage
      next to each other in front of their dueling grand pianos. With a lifetime of experience in the
      business, Baldori has played with Chuck Berry for the past 40 years in over 100 performances.

      This is evident in his stylings, technique, and from the hilarious and entertaining stories that are
      told in between songs. As his counterpart, Migliazza is a skilled and formidable musical opponent.

      Together the two take turns singing, playing the piano or keyboard, or cracking jokes to the audience to vary the pace.

      Though the musicians are both technical and impressive throughout the entire evening, the most exciting and powerful moment of the evening is when Baldori breaks out his harmonica for a passionate and bluesy solo, while Migliazza leads the way on piano. In general, the evening is
      filled with a variety of songs that transcend genres and succeed in keeping things interesting. The

      pacing of the show is also expertly cultivated, and slower jazz tunes are bookended by upbeat dance tunes and crowd pleasing American Classics.

      Bob Baldori on harmonica and Arthur Migliazza at the piano in a scene from “Boogie Stomp!”

      (Photo credit: Rebecca Scheckman)

      Bob Baldori on harmonica and Arthur Migliazza at the piano in a scene from “Boogie Stomp!”

      (Photo credit: Rebecca Scheckman)

      Presented in Midtown, The Elektra Theater is an intimate space that has a classic vibe to it: that of
      the old late­night Jazz venues that didn’t rely on huge sound systems but rather the acoustic design of the space. Catering to nostalgia for a time when pop music was still young and much more influential, Boogie Stomp! is an enjoyable ride that succeeds in demonstrating the timelessness of the classic songs that paved the way for the contemporary music of today.

      Boogie Stomp! (through November 28, 2015)

      IYF Productions

      The Elektra Theatre, 300 West 43 Street, in Manhattan

      For tickets, call 866­811­4111 or visit http://www.boogiestomp.com

      Running time: two hours including one intermissione

    • THEATRE IS EASY

      Boogie Stomp!

      Theasy.com

      theasy.com

      by Shani R. Friedman on 10.12.15

      BOTTOM LINE: Two colossal piano talents bring America’s forgotten music—Boogie Woogie and Blues—roaring back to life.
      Settling into my seat, I wonder how a couple of guys and their pianos are going to create a two hour show, especially for crowds whose music appreciation comes from scrolling through their iPhones. But audiences are in the tremendously skilled hands of Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza.
      Detroit-bred Baldori, who took up the piano when he was three, has played with many musical legends including Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, John Hammond and Bo Diddley. Baldori wrote and directed the 2012 documentaryBoogie Stomp, which inspired this production. Joining him on stage in his dapper fashions is Migliazza, a professional pianist since the age of 13 and a two-time International Blues Challenge finalist. Of their New York run Baldori cracks, “We finally made it here to the peep shows of 8th Avenue.”
      Baldori and Migliazza possess a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to the origins of boogie woogie and blues, which of course features many African-American musicians who were either never known or have become forgotten by all but hardcore blues and jazz fanatics. The duo share background throughout on the songwriters they include, but not so that it becomes overwhelming or turns the evening into a lecture.
      Starting from the earliest days of the sound, they let loose on “Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues”  by Earl “Fatha”  Hines, a jazz pianist and Chicago band leader. Greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker were members of the Hines big-band. As a very young kid in Chicago, Baldori saw Sonny Boy Williamson, who is considered the Godfather of the blues harp (harmonica) and wrote “Shake the Boogie”  before he was murdered and another musician, Rice Miller, claimed his name and sound. Baldori is on the harmonica here while Migliazza works the piano, the two speaking/singing. Another songwriter who is showcased—Hersal Thomas—wrote “Suitcase Blues”  before dying at age 20.
      There are also easily recognizable songs in the repertoire like Waters’s “Got My Mojo Working,”  which they encourage the audience to sing along to. We enthusiastically join in, some even barking when Maldori directs us. Chuck Berry gets a couple of shout-outs with “I’m So Glad I’m Living in the USA”  and “School Days,”  which Baldori fascinatingly demonstrates is a “note for note”  rock version of “Honkey Tonk Train Blues,”  written by Meade Lux Lewis in the 1920s, minus the guitar and lyrics.
      My favorite moment of the night was one they say is improvised from the times when they’ve turned up to gigs and there’s only one piano. As Baldori explains, “Normally we call it four hands but since we’re in New York we thought we would call it foreplay.”  They sit next to each other on the single bench although at various points Migliazza moves about, hilariously sitting behind Baldori while never pausing his playing. He also shows off his dance skills when Baldori plays solo and afterward jokes, “I almost started twerking. But you need the VIP tickets to see that.”
      Campana, Gostkowski and choreographer Trina Mills have put together a rollicking show, working without a story and really only the musicians, their instruments and clips from the documentary to fill out the performance. With the joy and enthusiasm that Baldori and Migliazza exude, it transcends being simply a concert and becomes a meaningful and completely engaging exploration of the connection between history, art, pop culture and craftsmanship.
    • NY THEATRE GUIDE

      Off-Broadway Review: ‘Boogie Stomp! The Stage Play’ at the Elektra Theater

      Posted By: Antigoni Gaitanaon: October 18, 2015
      Do you feel nostalgic? Do you feel like dancing? Or do you need an introduction to the world of boogie woogie? Whatever the case, Boogie Stomp! is the show to catch.

      From the moment you enter Elektra Theater, you are welcomed to an intimate and, at the same time, creatively charged space. The drapes and seats are deep red, and the two pianos are set partially facing each other and partially you, the audience. It feels as if you have come in while the musicians were taking a break from their rehearsal. When they enter the stage, they immediately let their energetic and rhythmical sound grab you, and you respond by tapping your feet almostwithout realizing it.

      Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza took us upon a wonderful journey which included 100 years of American piano music; they improvised, played solo, duets, and two pianos, and shared stories.

      A particularly interesting tale was about the “rent parties” that took place in the black households of the 1920s. Musicians were hosting gatherings where neighbors and friends were invited to listen to music and drink. The attendees were throwing money on the floor and the hosts were able to make their monthly rent that way. The audience was so impressed by this story that dollar bills from several directions started flying on stage!

      Their performances were enhanced by projections of historical footage, but, most importantly, by their genuine love for this music. Their sincere intention to communicate this made the audience participate, sing and clap along. Both performers are excellent musicians, and it is particularly interesting that they represent two different generations, being thus the embodiment of the show’s goal — connecting the past to the present and give it a future.

    • THE KNOCKTURNAL
      Theater Review: ‘Boogie Stomp!’
      by Staff


      The intimate atmosphere at the Elektra Theatre prepares its audiences with giddy excitement to enjoy Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza’s explosively memorable performances inBoogie Town!.

      This show is the most satisfying theatre experience everyone should have the opportunity to see. The production is a beautiful conglomerate of American Piano Music over the course of 100 years, which music lovers, new-comers to theatre and/or music, and professional musicians, can thoroughly enjoy. The show’s score is passionately played by a team of truly gifted artists: award-winning Blues and Boogie Woogie pianist Arthur Migliazza and the show’s producer, writer and professional pianist Bob Baldori. Baldori also directed the award-winning documentary Boogie Stomp!, on which the current stage play is based.

      The show is inspired by Mr. Baldori’s professional relationship with Chuck Berry, who is labeled as one of the greatest pioneers in Rock n’ Roll history. The three elements that paved the way for rock n’ roll were experimentation with rhythm, syncopation, and improvisation, and the show uses a historically musical timeline to demonstrate each of these. The charismatic and playful banter between Baldori and Migliazza throughout Boogie Stomp! make the show all the more endearing to watch, as well as intrigue its audience members with the history behind the birth of blues and boogie-woogie music.

      It is the combination of Bob Baldori’s warm humor with soulful harmonica playing and the cool & effortless presence of Arthur Migliazza at the piano that makes Boogie Stomp! a show you won’t want to miss. The smooth yet zesty flow that this show contains transforms its show-goers into keen & attentive, desirable eared audience members.

      Get your mojo working and fire it up, with Boogie Stomp!

    • CURTAIN UP

      Boogie Stomp!

      View at: CurtainUp.com

      Two extraordinary pianists, Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza, provide all the jivey music, the snappy commentary and the wonderfully playful fun in their hugely entertaining concert Boogie Stomp! Masters of their brand of keyboard artistry, namely playing/interpreting of Boogie Woogie, the Blues, and Ragtime, they notably bring two lifetimes of love and dedication to this totally American genre. Their love for this music is evident in every note they play, every song they sing and every comment they make.

      Baldori could use a little help picking out some nice looking clothes to wear (that Hawaiian shirt and skin tight jeans are pathetic), but once he gets to tickling those keys and on occasion playing his harmonica with awesome virtuosity, our attention is strictly on the music. He’s been playing the piano since he was 3, and also wrote and directed an award winning documentary, also titled Boogie Stomp!

      Baldori’s amazing career recording and performing with such jazz and blues luminaries as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley among many others can be summed up simply by saying he is a truly terrific one-of-a-kind musician. He not only serves as primary narrator (the excellent text is credited to John Campana) of the history of the blues with which has been so closely identified, but fills the room with his enthusiasm and exuberant playing.

      Migliazza was also somewhat of a child prodigy and has played professionally since he was 13. His award-winning career, includes playing the Blues on some of the great stages of the world as well as being inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame. Good looking and younger than his partner, Migliazza is another dazzler on the keyboard and more than holds his own in contrast to Baldori’s quips with endearing and wry touches of humor.

      Together these two are tearing up the Electra Theatre with their piano artistry. They use their flawless techniques in a couple of duets that are astounding complex as well as fun to watch. These are spaced between solos, the show’s rather informal narrative thread and some nice visuals.

      A revelation to me is the influence on the blues made by the steam engines that powered the trains of yore with their rhythms and sounds. This is terrifically integrated into the program and accompanied by some creatively edited film clips of the old trains in motion. Lovers of the old trains, like myself, will be in a state of bliss.

      For many, however, the the background stories of their mentors and such legendary musicians as Bob Seeley, W.C. Handy, and Earl “fatha” Hines that provide an extra dimension to their music journey. But this is not a classroom but a party celebrating the social, economic and roots of the blues and the African-American culture.

      These two great guys seated (sometimes) at two grand pianos have previously shared their talents with audiences in Russia, Canada and South America, but a return to New York after a year’s absense means that anyone who missed them in their last visit is getting another chance. The joy and the excitement they generate with their own unique blend of (in their words) “rhythm, improvisation, and syncopation” is at the heart of their versions of blues, jazz, swing, as well as some R & B and Rock. Classics are highlighted but given a newly individualized identity through their piano artistry.

      You’ll be hard pressed not to swing and sway and jive with them as they shake the rafters with “St. Louis Blues,” Shake that Boogie,” “Bumble Boogie” and that show-stopping concerto based on the original Louis Prima song “Sing, Sing, Sing” (but made famous by Benny Goodman’s big band.) The audience at the performance I saw was unable to sit still and not become part of this terrific two hour celebration that’s been expertly directed by Kirk Gostkowski.

    • THEATER SCENE.net

      Boogie Stomp!

      View at: TheaterScene.net

      Posted on October 20, 2015 by


      Boogie Woogie, that classic blend of Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Jazz, is back in New York City, thanks to John Campana’s Boogie Stomp!, featuring pianists extraordinaire Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza.

      First rising to fame in the early 1920’s, Boogie Woogie led the way for pop music in America in the 20th Century. A collection of classic hits that defined the genre as it is today, Boogie Stomp! is two hours of non-stop fun. From Muddy Waters to Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Buddy Holly and Benny Goodman, there is an eclectic enough offering in this show to get every audience member dancing in their seat.

      Performed by two bonafide Boogie Woogie experts, Baldori and Migliazza are positioned on stage next to each other in front of their dueling grand pianos. With a lifetime of experience in the business, Baldori has played with Chuck Berry for the past 40 years in over 100 performances. This is evident in his stylings, technique, and from the hilarious and entertaining stories that are told in between songs. As his counterpart, Migliazza is a skilled and formidable musical opponent. Together the two take turns singing, playing the piano or keyboard, or cracking jokes to the audience to vary the pace.

      Though the musicians are both technical and impressive throughout the entire evening, the most exciting and powerful moment of the evening is when Baldori breaks out his harmonica for a passionate and bluesy solo, while Migliazza leads the way on piano. In general, the evening is filled with a variety of songs that transcend genres and succeed in keeping things interesting. The pacing of the show is also expertly cultivated, and slower jazz tunes are bookended by upbeat dance tunes and crowd pleasing American Classics.

      Presented in Midtown, The Elektra Theater is an intimate space that has a classic vibe to it: that of the old late-night Jazz venues that didn’t rely on huge sound systems but rather the acoustic design of the space. Catering to nostalgia for a time when pop music was still young and much more influential, Boogie Stomp! is an enjoyable ride that succeeds in demonstrating the timelessness of the classic songs that paved the way for the contemporary music of today.


  • Chain Theater
  • Long Island City, NY
  • Reviews
    • Gemma Lolos Review

      When I first heard about Boogie Stomp!, playing at Long Island City’s Chain Theatre, the title grabbed me; it was unconventional and playful enough to motivate me to browse their website. The online description mentioned that the play told the “largely untold tale of boogie woogie and how it has shaped modern American music.” Uhhh….

      As far as I was concerned, boogie woogie was nothing more than a few made up words. So I did enough research to know that the play consisted of mainly piano music, and I listened to a clip of the two stars jamming out. But I was careful not to look too closely into the show because I still wanted to leave an element of surprise.

      I’ve always had a soft spot for Long Island City, but I was overwhelmed when my boyfriend and I got off the train at Court Square, coincidentally the same stop I had gotten off at for years to take voice lessons at the Long Island City Academy of Music. In my short absence, Long Island City had morphed into quite the chic area and many a yuppie had claimed it as their own. I was pleased, but not surprised, to find the Chain Theatre there as well.

      The space was limited. Two beautiful pianos were in the center of the stage and nothing else. Because, ultimately, Boogie Stomp! wasn’t about production: it was about the music. And the gentlemen responsible for bringing this music to life? None other than Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza. These guys were clearly experts in their field and they oozedcharisma. Together, they gave me a thorough education in all things boogie woogie. It was amazing to see first hand that many of the different genres of music that we are so familiar with have borrowed from or were influenced by boogie woogie.

      I never would have imagined that I’d laugh so hard at an instrumental show (or even at all, for that matter), but between Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza‘s inappropriate jokes and hysterical anecdotes, it was difficult not to! At piano recitals I’ve attended in the past, rigid music snobs run rampant and you can’t so much as breathe too loudly or risk disturbing the performance. Boogie Stomp! had a more relaxed atmosphere where I knew that I didn’t need to suppress any urges to cheer or applaud in appreciation of the music. In fact, this sort of participation was encouraged.

      It didn’t take long for me to grasp why the play was named what it was. I don’t think I can recall one moment in the show where the entire audience wasn’t stomping their feet to the beat, refusing to be passive because the music simply wouldn’t allow it. During the crowd favorite, “Back in the USA,” everyone started singing along with the chorus as if it was planned. And at one point, while Bob Baldori was treating us to an original song he wrote on the keyboard, Arthur Migliazza invited two women from the front row to dance with him! I was beyond tempted to leave my seat and take part in this mini dance party, and if I was seated any closer to the stage, I would have.

      Prior to Boogie Stomp!, I was never a huge fan of instrumental blues and jazz music. As I singer, I had always gravitated to music where the main focus was the vocal line. But the moment those guys put their fingers to the keys, I knew that I could not continue through life without boogie woogie.

      -Gemma Lolos, TDF Audience Experience, May 19th 2014

    • Joel Benjamin Review

      Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza are two brilliant musicians with an overwhelming jones for Boogie Woogie music and its many artistic descendants. Their encyclopedic knowledge of popular musical forms over the last century is breathtaking, but their playing of and dedication to their chosen repertoire is even more amazing. Boogie Stomp! at the Chain Theatre takes the audience on a fascinating tour of more than a century of American music beginning with “Boogie Stomp” which was a classic of the form: steady, repeated bass line in the left hand under a varied melody played by the right. Strangely absent from the program was any representation of Ragtime, but, perhaps including Ragtime would have been too much of a good thing.

      Bob, the older and more experienced of the two, was the congenial host and narrator of the evening, entertainingly revealing the lowdown origins of this music in bordellos, juke joints and street corners. He spoke of many of the Boogie and Blues legends, beginning with Earl Fatha Hines, Bob Seeley and slightly more contemporary artists like Fats Waller and Chuck Berry all of whom provided the chronological arc of the music these two played. Arthur’s “St. Louis Blues” took the tune from lowdown blues to thumping boogie. Bob played the harmonica and sang in a twangy voice on “Shake That Boogie” recalling the memory of Sonny Boy Williamson while Arthur tickled the ivories. The squeaks and squawks of the harmonica gave the tune a heft. Hersal Thomas’s “Suitcase Blues” came with a colorful story of the institution of rent parties while “Okemos Breakdown” celebrated Bob’s hometown (with photos of the young Bob projected onto the cutout screens of the backdrop). The first part ended with a rowdily improvised “Fourplay,” played four-hand on one piano leading to some hilarious choreography involving entwined arms and legs.

      “Tennessee Waltz,” made famous by Patti Page, was given a refreshing interpretation by Bob, full of breathless hesitations and changes of tempo. Arthur’s “Bumble Boogie” was astounding, his hands a blur as the notes tumbled out in a torrent. Also brilliantly resuscitated was Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing” in a tribute to the Big Bands. The two guys caught the pounding of Gene Krupa and the whoop of Goodman’s clarinet. It was difficult to keep butts in seats!

      Bob’s son happened to show him how an electric keyboard could sound like a human voice leading to “By Myself,” a bluesy, but lighthearted evocation of deeply felt emotions. Stirring up images of the trains that helped disseminate this music, “Honky Tonk Train”—backed up by appropriate show and tell on the screens—certainly caught the sounds of pistons churning and wheels pounding the tracks.

      The finale, “Mojo” came with stories of the legendary Muddy Waters and the sad disappearance of the Boogie Woogie (except as it was absorbed into Rock & Roll). “Mojo,” which also included more energetic harmonica playing, was a fitting way to end the program with a bang.

      -Joel Benjamin, Theater Scene, June 6th 2014

    • Meg C Review

      Long Island City’s Chain Theatre’s latest production, Boogie Stomp!, recently opened and runs through the end of May. This production features two musicians—pianists Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza — with genuinely impressive resumes and the hot chops to match. You may also know Boogie Stomp!, as a critically acclaimed documentary that profiled the adventures and performances of Bob Baldori & Bob Seeley.

      Baldori started out in his own band in Detroit in the 1960s and went on to perform with veritable legends such as Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Along the way he met the young phenom Arthur Migliazza, who started his professional career at the young age of 13, eventually performing the world over with music luminaries such as Buckwheat Zydeco and Robert Cray.

      Their current production at the Chain Theatre is an intimate treat. On two baby grand pianos, Baldori and Migliazza perform an energetic conversation of boogie and blues classics (“Shake that Boogie,” “Tennessee Waltz”) as well as their own compositions (“By Myself), each answering the other’s musical prowess with flourishes and improvisations along the way. Interspersed between the songs are American roots music history lessons, including some shockingly funny personal anecdotes from the road. Against a backdrop of footage of performances by the artists they are honoring, Baldori accompanies Migliazza with the harmonica for some songs, singing along and even involving the audience in the music.

      Music lovers, do not miss this gem of a production. Tickets to evening performances of Boogie Stomp! are available through www.boogiestomp.com for performances through May 31, 2014.

      -Meg C, We Love L.I.C., May 17th 2014

    • Paulanne Simmons Review

      In Boogie Stomp!, pianists extraordinaire Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza define the blues as rhythms for dancing that were originally created by recently freed African-Americans. Not surprisingly, American piano music is all about rhythm, improvisation and syncopation over the blues

      This music was based on an oral tradition and created by anonymous composers who passed down their ideas. It thrived in honky-tonks, bars and rent parties. And for two hours it is thrilling audiences at The Chain Theatre in Long Island City, where Baldori and Migliazza perform many of the classic songs made famous by legendary blues men and women.

      Seated at separate baby grands Baldori and Migliazza play amazing duets of “Suitcase Blues,” “Okemos Breakdown” (a breakdown is a wild party) and the Chuck Berry classic, “Back in the USA.” Then for the last number of the first act, they sit at the same piano for “Fourplay,” an original and improvised work. Hands fly over each other at amazing speed, and at one point Migliazza actually sits behind Baldori as they continue on their roll, never missing a beat.

      Migliazza does several astounding solos of “St. Louis Blues” and “Bumble Boogie;”  and Baldori performs a bluesy version of “Tennessee Waltz” that might make Patti Page rise from her grave and applaud. Baldori also plays the harmonica on several numbers, including “Shake that Boogie” and Muddy Waters’ signature song, “Mojo.”

      In “By Myself,” Baldori plays a synthesizer set on voice mode. As Baldori sings, it sounds as if he were backed by a doo-wop group.

      While Baldori and Migliazza play, Guillermo Laporta’s projections show famous jazz musicians performing, grainy cityscapes of the great jazz era and images pertinent to the songs. It’s all very interesting – if you can take your eyes away from those flying fingers.

      Boogie woogie disappeared as a force in music during the early 50s, but it survives in modern jazz and rock n’ roll. And it lives on in artists like Baldori, who has played with blues and rock legends from Bo Diddley to Chuck Berry during his 40 year-career, and Migliazza, a younger-generation musician who has learned from mentors such as Henry Butler, Ann Rabson and Mr. B. As long as these men can set the stage on fire, the music that is America’s greatest cultural contribution to the world will never die.

      –Paulanne Simmons, Theater Pizzazz, New York Music Review, May 16th, 2014


  • Stormfield Theatre
  • Lansing, MI
  • Reviews
    • Chris Reitz Review

      It was the second weekend of “Boogie Stomp!” at Lansing’s Stormfield Theatre—but in another sense, on that Thursday evening on May 17th, it was very much opening night for Bob Baldori’s still-evolving piano-boogie revue.

      The program itself followed largely the same format as the four shows Baldori and Seeley had done the previous weekend at the the Stormfield, and Baldori remains the master of ceremonies, facilitator, singer, the showbiz veteran who keeps the program moving along.

      Many of the same numbers were on the program from the Seeley show: Baldori’s voice-and-harmonica rendering of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Shake That Boogie,” piano duets like “Honky Tonk Train” and “Okemos Breakdown,” the elaborate schtick of the two-guys-on-one-piano set piece “Fourplay”—even Migliazza’s first solo, “St.Louis Blues,” was taken from the earlier repertoire of showstoppers.

      But whereas the 80-plus-year-old Seeley plays like a force of nature—a self-contained, strong-armed typhoon of a stylist—Migliazza is, ironically in many ways, just the opposite, and not just because he seems shockingly young. He’s a silky, urbane player, a Maserati to Seeley’s freight train, with a musically adventurous, playful streak that befits a young, 21st-century artist, and suggests his musical purview stretches well outside the borders of barrelhouse boogie.

      It gives the now-established revue a whole different feel. If “Boogie Stomp” was initially a case of Bob Baldori presenting the Old Master, and insinuating himself and his playing into the great Detroiter’s music, the Baldori-Migliazza version is more of a true duo, each player dishing it while creating an unwavering groove for the other.

      It’s instructive to see how Baldori, a formidable player with a serious resume and the long-lived nickname “Boogie Bob,” continues to pair himself up with players who can push him so hard. He’s performed the “Boogie Stomp” revue without Bob Seeley before—most notably with the German hotshot Martin Schmitt—but Arthur Migliazza, slack-jawed and slapping the floor with the soles of both dress shoes, seems almost to represent the new wave of this music: an irresistible, pedigreed old style with an explosion of youthful energy and new ideas.

      Who knew there would be a new wave of boogie-woogie? If indeed there is to be one, it all comes down to how it plays in the theater, in front of a live audience and—as we say here in the new century—in real time. Despite that it was their first night (or perhaps because of it), “Boogie Stomp” felt relaxed, spontaneous, even refreshingly unrehearsed at times, Baldori playing Mr. Interlocutor to Migliazza’s comic, occasionally subversive asides.

      Without ever slowing down or becoming didactic, “Boogie Stomp” also managed to be a showcase not just for these two hotshots but for the story of this music’s cultural and historical context, from reference to the lumber camps and roadhouses that birthed so much American music, to Baldori’s nod to longtime associate Chuck Berry to the seismic channeling of greats Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons in their powerhouse duets.

      It all serves to bring to life the main event: the music. This is stuff that will put a charge into any room, from performing arts halls and big theaters to the modest confines of the Stormfield, where a crowd of Thursday-night theater-goers were shortly hooting, shouting and applauding from their feet.

      Boogie-woogie’s appeal is timeless; it’s no more an “acquired taste” than lunch at Paula Deen’s house: you’re gonna love it. But it’s the relationships—the modern-day top guns delivering the goods in this older style, the deceptively easy flow of the program,  and mostly those magic moments that happen between two masterful, sympathetic players of different generations locked in together on stage, that made “Boogie Stomp” nothing less than exhilarating… and remember, this was only opening night.

    • Bridgette M. Redman Review

      Stormfield stomps an energetic end to its season
      Review By: Bridgette M. Redman

      Every town has its collection of famous and almost famous residents. In Lansing, these include celebrities from the world of sports, politics, technology and politics. Names such as Magic Johnson, John Smoltz, Malcolm X and Larry Page (co-founder of Google) make residents stop and say, “Yeah, they’re from my hometown.”

      Then there is the ubiquitous entertainment industry. Lansing lays claim to such figures as Timothy Busfield and Steven Seagal.

      In the music world, the first name that pops to many people’s lips is Boogie Woogie Bob Baldori. A back-up pianist and harmonica player for Chuck Berry, he’s made a career out of playing the “happy blues” of boogie-woogie.

      It’s a history that Stormfield Theater is sharing with its audiences to close out its season in a performance of “Boogie Stomp!” In a series of concerts over two weekends, Baldori is partnering up with other boogie-woogie greats to put on a display of boogie-woogie piano music along with a smattering of the history and an explanation of what makes boogie woogie what it is.

      On opening night at Stormfield, Baldori was joined by Bob Seeley, student of Meade Lux Lewis and acknowledged by many as the best boogie-woogie pianist in the world. To see his fingers move across the keyboard, few would want to challenge him. He plays with a speed and intensity that make hummingbirds look lazy.

      Together Baldori and Seeley present an evening of piano proficiency designed to excite an audience’s ears and eyes both. The keyboards are turned so the audience doesn’t have to miss a move and can delight to the dancing fingers. What made Baldori’s performance even more impressive opening night was that he was playing with a split index finger, bandaged to protect it. Yet there was no evidence of even the slightest hesitation or favoring of the finger.

      The two musicians, playing music that was at its popularity height in the ’30s and ’40s know how to entertain. Whether it is the humor of making a keyboard sing doo wops or the cheek-to-cheek playing with four hands on a single keyboard, they fill the evening with flair and fun.

      Boogie-woogie, which Baldori defined as rhythm and improvisation over the blues, wasn’t the music of concert halls. The skilled founders of the music played in backroom bars, speakeasies and night clubs. The music came out of the post-Civil War era when newly freed slaves were experiencing new opportunity to experiment with their music. The music was meant to make people dance – not anything slow and stately, but the fast patter of a beat that never stopped pumping.

      This is the story that Baldori and Seeley tell on Stormfield’s stage in “Boogie Stomp!” But ultimately it isn’t the words that communicate the story, it is the music and those non-stop fingers dancing over the keyboard. It is the pure passion which the two musicians pour into the piano, making the impressive grands practically jump on the stage.

      Performance Information

    • Paul Wozniak Review

      Stormfield Theatre comes down with ‘Boogie’ fever

       

      Review By: Paul Wozniak

      If rock and roll is, as John Sinclair said, “just R&B with a marketing twist,” then boogie woogie may be R&B with no marketing at all … except for Bob Baldori.

      Since the late 1960s, Baldori, a.k.a. “Boogie Bob,” has played piano and harmonica with iconic artists such as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and others. But without young pop-culture disciples like Jack White or The Black Keys bringing hip attention to boogie woogie, or jukebox musicals like “Million Dollar Quartet” revamping boogie woogie into a Broadway smash, Baldori would be virtually alone in promoting the style.

      He’s faced that challenge when he’s tried to book his semi-autobiographical show, “Boogie Stomp!”

      “I have this fight all the time with theater owners or producers who come up to me and see what I´m doing here and say, ´There´s no story, there´s no book,´” said Baldori of his theatrical production, which he has successfully produced five times. “Meanwhile, I´ve got season ticket holders walking out saying, ´That was the best evening in the theater I´ve had in 10 years.´ And they don´t even know who I am when they come and see it.”

      Opening Thursday at Stormfield Theatre, “Boogie Stomp!” is a musical and anecdotal odyssey through the personal histories of Baldori, fellow piano legend Bob Seeley and the evolution of jazz, boogie woogie and rock.

      The show is structured around the story of Seeley and Baldori. Seeley will perform with Baldori for the first weekend´s performances; in the second week, Baldori will be joined by pianist Arthur Migliazza.

      Baldori conducted scholarly amounts of historical research for “Boogie Stomp!,” which he can casually recall like chord progressions.

      “The word ‘jazz’ is probably Irish. It´s first in print in 1912 in a Los Angeles newspaper used by an Irish sportswriter,” said Baldori citing one specific factoid. “It comes from (the anicient) Gaelic ´teas,´ which means ´heat, excitement, fire.´”

      Part history lesson, part platonic love story and part piano-driven concert, “Boogie Stomp!” is built around what Baldori describes as the “money moments.”

      “You have these moments that move people for a minute, just change their whole life: That´s why they paid to get in,” said Baldori, likening the “money moment” to an electric connection between the artist and the audience that virtually sends viewers shooting to their feet. “You´re lucky in any (live performance) if it happens at all, let alone two or three times. But we do it a dozen times within the course of two hours. And we do it from the first number.”

      ‘Boogie Stomp!’

    • Tom Helma Review

      Piano Power! ‘Boogie Stomp!’ rocks Stormfield Theatre

       

      Review By: Tom Helma

      by Tom Helma

      It’s not a musical, but it’s almost entirely musical — not even close to being an actual play, but clearly quite a dramatic performance. The B and S Railroad of boogie-woogie blues rocked and rolled its way into the station house of Stormfield Theatre, creating a spontaneous romp through the history of African-American music, from Muddy Waters to Chuck Berry, with a little Berry Gordy thrown in along the way. “Boogie Stomp!” is pure music and all heart, a perfect ending to the Stormfield Theatre season.

      Mixing historic commentary with solos and duets that demonstrate a flexibility of flying fingers, Bob Baldori and Bob Seeley demonstrate a rapid-fire virtuoso versatility, moving effortlessly from one form of boogie-woogie to another. The “St Louis Blues,” played by Seeley, progresses through various incarnations, then Baldori adds a cover of an early Chuck Berry tune.

      As the music heats up, Baldori and Seeley compete wildly to see which of them can play the fastest. Audience foot-tapping becomes aggressive foot-stomping.  Slower sad-sounding songs follow, evoking images and feelings of bars we’ve never been to, beers we’ve never drunk, blues we’ve never really felt. Eyes close, people begin to sway. Couples find themselves touching shoulders. It becomes an intimate evening. Women’s hearts melt as Baldori caresses his way through a sexy gospel blues rendition of “The Tennessee Waltz.”

      The duo turns comic, first with semi-lame jokes, then hamming it up, impressively with “Four-play,” in which  both play the same piano simultaneously. Seeley shows off impressive complexities with a driving “Bumble Boogie” version of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.” The evening wraps us with — what else? — an audience sing-along.

      It is a coup that Stormfield was able to land this act. Some would say, paraphrasing the Holy Scriptures, that a musician is without honor in his own country. Not true in this instance. Baldori, and Seeley are a dynamic elder-duo that has toured Europe and played on stage with Elton John, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder and other legends.

      They merit a standing ovation.

  • Boarshead Theater
  • Lansing, MI
  • Reviews
    • Letter from Artistic Director Kristine Thatcher
    • Review by Chris Reitz

      “Review of Boogie Stomp!

       

      Review By: Chris Reitz

       

      Lansing State Journal

       

      April 27, 2007

      Bob Seeley and Bob Baldori walked in from opposite sides of the stage, seated themselves at their respective grand pianos and launched into “Boogie Stomp” a twinpiano showcase the like of which hasn’t been heard anywhere since the glory days of Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons.

      Then Seeley, 78 years old but seeming far younger, soloed on one of his longtime showpieces, “St. Louis Blues.” After about the sixth time through, the energy was ramped to a point at which most mortal men would bring it to a grand climax but Bob Seeley was just getting started. At least ten more choruses followed, each more stratospheric than the one before, an almost unbelievably virtuosic boogiewoogie tourdeforce.

      And remember: this was only the second number of the evening.

      So it went on the evening of Friday April 27th, the tenth of a remarkably ambitious 12 day run at Lansing’s Boar’s Head Theater. It was billed as a musical revue, meaning there was a little more talk than the usual club date and dancing girls, too, on one number: “6 th Avenue Express,” probably the Boar’s Head’s first choreography to involve cell phones.

      But the schtick was largely reined in, and musicmaking ruled the night. The consensus on lifelong Detroiter Bob Seeley is that he’s likely the best boogie pianist alive, a genre that’s both technically forbidding and stylistically self contained. “Boogie” Bob Baldori also Detroit born is a happy foil for Seeley. He’s a formidable player himself, a generation younger, and something of a rocknroll renaissance man: charter member of the Woolies, longtime Chuck Berry sideman, theatrical producer, attorney, harmonica player, singer.

      “Boogie Stomp,” then, served first as a showcase for the estimable Seeley, and as a platform for the piano duets and despite that the sets were peppered with solos, and paced with Baldori singing and playing incredible harp, the duos were the night’s most magical moments.

      “Okemos Breakdown”a rerouting of Big Maceo Merriweather’s “Chicago Breakdown” jumped and sparkled in a way that can only happen in the push and pull between the right two players. It was such a natural sound, one forgets how thoroughly solo the art of boogie piano is, and how rare let’s say unheard of for a duo to click in this style.

      Ditto with “Boogie Rocks,” and their encore, which they played with all four hands on one piano, jostling with each other for position. Another magic moment was Baldori’s solo to open the second set: a gorgeous, gospel drenched reading of, of all things, “Tennessee Waltz,” a touch of sweet lyricism in an evening otherwise governed by train engine boogie relentlessness.

      If Baldori seemed much the master of ceremonies, moving the show along, using his battle tested stage charm to present the Old Master, well that’s the idea. But Seeley isn’t “Old” in any of the ways that matter, and “Boogie Stomp” wasn’t a career retrospective, but a whole new venture. The two Boogie Bobs is a fresh chapter in a very much ongoing career and that, as much as anything, lent “Stomp” so much pizzazz

    • Boarshead Poster

  • Gem Theatre
  • Detroit, MI
  • Reviews
    • Promotional Article
    • Review by Stewart Franke

      Boogie Stomp! A Celebration Of American Music!

       

      Review By: Stu Francke’s

       

      October 13, 2009

      Ten days ago, I caught a show downtown that reminded me with fresh vigor why I’m a musician. So this particular column is less a performance review than it is a celebration of that show and all that’s good and true in artistic expression.
      It was a night of authentic American music as played by two American Masters, with its own point of view, deep intentions, traditions, total freedom from the traps of age, fashion, and era, etc. I’m not into the whole ‘old is better’ thing either; there’s plenty of valuable and great music being made today. This show just had all the goods.
      The show in question was on Fridat night, October 2nd, at the Ornate Gem Theater. Titled Boogie Stomp!, it’s a simple premise, two pianists, Bob Seeley and Bob Baldori, playing stride, boogie-woogie, blues, and backbeat rock and roll on twin concert grand pianos. Between songs they talk about their lives, careers, and influences with an anecdotal ease that creates that rarest of things. The artists and audience shared revelry that then creates this third presence in the room. A higher love. As performing musicians, it’s what we all strive for with every show.
      The relationship between Seeley and Baldori began when they met at a tribute to Chuck Berry’s original piano player, Johnny Johnson. They started working together soon after Baldori went out and sat in at Seeley’s regular gig at Charley’s Crab in Troy. A mutual interest in the “two piano” boogie style of legendary greats Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons led them to work out some of the original four hand classics. They also discovered a common repertoire of mutually familiar blues, boogie, and jazz tunes that Baldori could also double on harmonica. From there it was a short step to creating original pieves for their live show.
      A brief lock back at this mongrel of a genre: By the late 1930’s and throughout the 40’s, the world of jazz and popular music was dominate by what was known as ‘The Big Three’ of Boogie Woogie piano. Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons, and Maede Lux Lewis. Their style was called Boogie, but their playing covered a country mile, and included jazz, blues, swing, stride, ragtime, barrelhouse, and the roots of rock and roll.
      In this age of adult attention deficiency, rapid resolution, and the endless catering to juvenilia, Boogied Stomp! And both Bobs are a welcome antidote. Both men are over 60; both perform with the vitality of 25 year olds. More importantly, both men illuminate, in slightly varied ways, this long river of American music right before our eyes and ears.
      Seeley is the last living connection to the founders of blues and boogie. Sippie Wallace, Meade Lux Lewis, Big Maceo Merriwether, even the legendary executive and talent scout John Hammond. He’s honored the world over as the finest living stride and boogie piano player, winning competitions, and performing in European music meccas like Paris and Moscow annually.  He’s a musical God in Europe.  An indomitable 82 that would pass for 55 at any point, Seeley sits with the terse, rounded shoulders of a boxer and plays with a rumbling, clarion intensity. Pure magic.
      Baldori had a Top 10 hit in 1966 with his band The Woolies, covering Bo Diddley’s seminal ‘Who Do You Love?’ with producer Lou Adler. He then became one of Chuck Berry’s indispensable sidemen and friends, playing with rock’s founder everywhere from the White House to the Silverdome over the last 30 years. His playing has deep roots in early electric blues. Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Memphis Slim are dominant, but this is extravagantly alive music in the here and now, not some vintage period piece relic.
      Between these two men, a musical continuum of 100 years is writ large, stomped out, and hand delivered with the dynamic thrust of a freight train. Baldori is more in the Johnny Johnson, Professor Longhair style while Seeley actually learned his chops from Lewis. He has a lighter touch than Lewis however, more poetic, like Jimmy Yancey playing Beethoven on a bender.
      In another day, both players might’ve been called Cat House piano players. Both have booming left hands that are like granite in their time keeping.
      Baldori, coming from rock and roll, Chicago Blues, is more the overt showman. His harp playing is as exciting as anyone since Paul Butterfield, with a bulrush of distorted notes quickly giving awat to bright, melodic runs, and at times comic physical expression. Between songs he lays out the genesis of all this music, where it went and what it became, while Seeley tells stories about his vast career with self-effacing wit.
      Is Boogie Stomp blues, R&B, Rock and Roll, Boogie-woogie, Jazz? It’s all that, plus the historical oral tradition of the shaman, the elder or high priest. Is it academic? Nah. Is it history? Yeah, but it’s way more fun than school ever was. All this ran through my mind as these guys were replication the famous 1938 night at Carnegie Hall when Hammond joined Ammons, Lewis, and Pete Johnson together for a performance that launched what was called the ‘boogie craze’. All these complimentary styles, from boogie to rock to blues to soul, are creations and extensions of the black experience in America. Both Bobs are white, but they set all that straight in their historical overview.
      Now, I have to make known this small disclaimer, although my exuberance for this show was not increased by our friendship. When I was 19, I had two once-in-a-lifetime mentors. First was Boogie Bob Baldori himself, who put me in his band when I was greener than green. I could barely play a lick, and my hip quotient was zero. But he saw something he liked, and he taught me everything. How to work and audience, how to wrap a cord after a gig, how to listen to each other on stage, and how to conduct business. He taught me about keeping tempo, using dynamics, how something quiet can kill an audience (in a good way), and how a band should work with and around the singer. He taught me where the back of the beat is. He turned me on to Howlin Wolf, Robert Johnson, Henry Adams, and Luis Bunuel. He took me to Chicago repeatedly to see the best blues acts, James Cotton and Luther Allison, where I’d meet these characters deep inside the music business. It’s one of those depts. You can never repay, you just try to live up to it.
      Through Boband his band I was soon playing bass on some dates with Chuck Berry, who taught me about guitar playing, syncopation, feel, lyric writing, and vocal clarity. Here I was working with the guy who literally wrote the book. Listening to Chuck sins, he enunciates every syllable, like the King’s English.
      Baldori and Seeley have now shot enough footage all over the world that a documentary also called Boogie Stomp! will soon be finished. It will document how the basic elements of boogie woogie, rhythm and improvisation over a blues form, became the backbone of American music. Boogie Stomp! Will also tell the story of the two Bobs and their unlikely pairing, a twin performance that almost blew the roof off that lovely old Gem. Do yourself a favor…see Boogie Stomp! When it comes ‘round again, hopefully during the holidays.
      Don’t just wait for the flick.