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Albert Ammons

b. September 23, 1907 in Chicago, IL, d. December 2, 1949 in Chicago, IL. Ammons began playing piano as a small child and worked in Chicago clubs while still a youth. In the late 20s and early 30s he played in a number of small bands but his real forte was as a soloist. After establishing himself as an important blues piano player in Chicago in the mid-30s, a period that saw him leading a small group at many of the city’s top nightspots, Ammons moved to New York City. With Pete Johnson he formed a piano duo, playing in the newly popular boogie-woogie style. In New York Ammons and Johnson appeared at the Cafe Society and occasionally added Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis to their group to form a powerful boogie-woogie trio. By the mid-40s Ammons had returned to playing on his own, touring the USA before settling back in his home town, where he died in December 1949. Although best known for his contribution to the briefly popular craze for boogie-woogie, Ammons was one of the outstanding blues piano players of all time. His influence is immense, from Erroll Garner and Ray Bryant to Jools Holland and John Cleary. His son, Gene ‘Jug’ Ammons, played tenor saxophone.