[22] Ammons & Lewis – The First Day

6 Sep

As the first lazy, languid sounds of one man and a piano begin to play, I sit back and let the notes wash over me.

The First Day

The First Day











This masterful album opens with a four part suite entitled “The Blues, Parts 1 – 4”, and Meade “Lux” Lewis carefully, craftfully plays around with rhythm and repetition, timbre and tone. It is honey for the ears. There is no rush, no hurry – Lewis explores at his own pleasant and purposeful pace, taking the listener on a sonic stroll across the keys.

So it is a fascinating juxtaposition when Albert Ammons takes over with “Boogie Woogie Stomp”, left hand laying down a wicked groove, right hand fingers flying across the higher register trilling and riffing at breakneak speed. No longer a passive passenger, the listener has to hold on for dear life to keep up.

And so it goes back and forth between these two pioneers, complete with the hisses and pops of the original recording – even on CD. It is a constant reminder that these thoroughly enjoyable tracks were cut in a single day, over three-quarters of a century ago, the first recording session of the legendary Blue Note label.

At 18 tracks, it appears for a time that the album might wear out its welcome, that there might not be quite enough variation to justify the inclusion of everything recorded at the session. But then Ammons kicks it up another gear in the perfectly titled “Bass Going Crazy”, and you are on board for the rest of the wild ride. Throw in a couple of duets – less dueling pianos, more polite interplay – and the disc ends every bit as strongly as it began.

Here is an album I can put on in any situation, for any mood – it is classy and complex, soothing and satisfying, exiting and engaging.

It is everything I was hoping to discover in undertaking this project.

Owned before blogging? No. (1 of 22. 5%)
Heard before blogging? No. (3 of 22. 14%)
Recommend? Yes. (18 of 22. 82%)

Next Week: Marian Anderson – Spirituals

One Response to “[22] Ammons & Lewis – The First Day”

  1. nycavri September 7, 2013 at 8:22 AM #

    Was Albert Ammons the very first person to record Rock & Roll? Paul Merry puts the argument: http://paulmerryblues.blogspot.com/2013/05/was-boogie-woogie-stomp-worlds-first.html

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