Meade "Lux" Lewis Essay

1632 WordsOct 14, 20107 Pages
Jazz In America 10/7/2010 Meade “Lux” Lewis, “Honky Tonk Train Blues” (1927) Lux Meade “Lux” Lewis never achieved the riches or true fame of many musical artists. He essentially was the poster boy of boogie-woogie music during the height of its popularity in the 1930’s, but after the boogie-woogie scene diminished, Lewis faded with it. It is still incredibly interesting to understand where Lewis came from and how he made an impact on jazz music. There is a reason that Meade “Lux” Lewis is so set apart from all of the other boogie-woogie musicians and that reason all has to do with his dynamic left-hand, and the complexity of his music that others lacked. Meade “Lux” Lewis has a very interesting story. He wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination an instant success, but rather a byproduct of coincidence. Meade was born on September 4th, 1905 into a musical family in Chicago. Meade’s father pushed him to play the violin. Fortunately, Meade was inspired by boogie-woogie pianist Jimmy Yancey and decided to switch to piano after his father died. Lewis ended up teaching himself, like most boogie-woogie artists, how to play the piano. This lends some insight into how his style, and that of boogie-woogie was developed, and why it has nearly no relation to classic European music. The reason for this is that the artists that played boogie-woogie were attempting to imitate the guitar technique used in logging camps that where one guitar would play a melody, a second guitar would play rhythmic chords, and the third guitar would play a bass line. This is imitated by the right hand playing the melody and the left hand playing the bass and rhythm. Lewis was truly a master of this technique. Soon he was playing at house parties and hanging out with his idol Jimmy Yancey. In 1927, Lewis recorded “Honky Tonk Train Blues” for Paramount records. Unfortunately,

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