By Kristi Kates
Called both the Gen-X arrival to this uniquely American art form and
The Boogie-Woogie Kid, pianist Matthew Ball specializes in the blues and
- yes, boogie-woogie piano - and will be performing at the Dennos Museum
Center as the wrap-up to the 2009-2010 Dennos concert season.
The Michigan native, who attended both Oakland University and the
University of Detroit Mercy Law School, may have succeeded in graduating;
but that feeling of accomplishment didnt last long. Ball quickly became
disillusioned by the 9-to-5 office grind, and a visit to the 2001 Motor
City Boogie-Woogie and Blues Festival literally changed his life.
Ball, inspired by the performers at the event, quickly sought out
Boogie-Woogie Hall of Famer Bob Seeley, and managed to talk the busy
pianist into giving him lessons.
It helped that I had classical training, says Ball, but boogie-woogie
and blues are very different.
After a lot of hard work, Ball found himself headlining - a mere four
years later - with some of the same performers hed seen live in 2001.
Ball proves that for some, with effort, life can definitely get a reboot.
JAZZ N BOOGIE
Ball today performs frequently as a jazz pianist, but more importantly is
working to advocate the boogie-woogie music form. Its a brand of jazz
you dont hear on radio stations, that you dont see in the major concert
halls... and thats not right, he explains.
The Dennos - at least in its case - would respectfully disagree.
Actually, piano boogie has been somewhat of a staple over the years with
projects that have been led for us by Mr. B from Ann Arbor, another great
player, Dennos Museum Director Gene Jenneman says, I booked Matthew to
introduce a new talent in this musical genre to our audience members who
enjoy the music. Having Bob Seeley as a mentor means hes quite likely to
offer a great show!
Seeley himself has played at the Dennos, while Jenneman says that Ball, by
turn, brings respect for the genre as well.
I am looking forward to hearing him in concert, and he will be with his
wife who plays drums - we have not had that combination in a boogie
concert before, Jenneman explains, he really stands out because of the
musical genre and his youth. Corky Siegel did some piano boogie in his
concert last November, but not as a full concert as Matthew will.
Matthew Ball will perform in concert at the Dennos Museum Center, Traverse
City, on May 1. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dennosmuseum.org,
or by calling the box office at 231-995-1553; more info about Matthew can
be found online at www.boogiewoogiekid.com.