While fans await news about The Rolling Stones’ next move, drummer Charlie Watts is playing a few gigs with his other project, The ABC&D Of Boogie Woogie, in New York City. The group has just released Live In Paris, which they recorded in September of 2010. Named after the first letter of the first names of its members, the band includes piano player Axel Zwingenberger, piano player/singer Ben Waters, Charlie Watts and bass player Dave Green. And as the name suggests, the band play boogie woogie, the piano driven, blues based music that was popular in the 1930s and 1940s. Their shows are divided up into thirds: one third of the show features Zwingenberger, one third features Waters, and one third features both piano players.
Stones fans may remember Waters: last year, he released an album, Boogie 4 Stu, a tribute to the Rolling Stones’ late tour manager and piano player, Ian Stewart. Both Watts and Dave Green played on much of the album, which also featured guest appearances of Watts’ fellow Rolling Stones. In fact, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Watching The River Flow” featured Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and even former bass player Bill Wyman. ABC&D piano player Axel Zwingenberger may not be as familiar to fans, but Watts tells CBS Local in an exclusive interview that he’s one of the best boogie-woogie piano players in the world. As opposed to Rolling Stones piano player Chuck Leavell, who plays a variety of styles, Zwingenberger has one musical focus: playing boogie-woogie and keeping the genre alive.
The ABC&D Of Boogie Woogie is about to kick off a four night stand at New York City jazz club Iridium. Watts and Dave Green – who have been friends since they were five years old, and have played in jazz groups together since they were 15 – say that their shows are a blast. And Watts seems to enjoy them more than the Stones’ huge stadium shows.
As for the Stones, Watts is usually nonchalant about the group’s legendary stature, but he says that the fact that they’ve been together for a half century is pretty amazing. However, he doesn’t know what the group will do this year or next to celebrate the anniversary.
The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie kick off their four night stand at the Iridium (playing two shows a night) this Friday, June 29.
– Brian Ives, CBS Local