Boogie Woogie was the first and to date the only exclusively piano music to issue from the blues. Boogie Woogie, a term used to describe the blues piano playing that thrived roughly between the years 1920 and 1945, was a highly popular music in tenements. The very name Boogie was another name for the "house rent party." Both terms describe a phenomenon that took place in the crowded tenements of Chicago, Detroit, New York, and virtually every city with a large black population.
Boogie-woogie is a style of music that became popular during the late 1920s, but developed in
African American communities in the 1870s. While blues in general expresses a variety of emotions,
boogie-woogie is mainly associated with dancing. The term boogie is simply short for Boogie-woogie. Dr. John Tennison, a San Antonio psychiatrist
noted a connection with the term boogie woogie and four African terms, including:
the Hausa word "Boog" meaning "to beat"
the Mandingo word "Booga" meaning "to beat"
the West African word "Bogi" meaning "to dance"
and the Bantu term "Mbuki Mvuki" (Mbuki "to take off in flight" and Mvuki "to dance")
These terms are consistent with the drumming, dancing, and uninhibited behaviors originated among newly emancipated African-Americans. Boogie woogie was also used for rent-parties. A rent party (sometimes called a house party) was a social occasion where tenants hire a musician or band to play and pass the hat to raise money to pay their rent, originating in Harlem during the 1920s
Swing in the 30's and 40's
The boogie-woogie beat became incorporated into the music of swing bands. Tommy Dorsey's band recorded an updated version of "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie" in 1938, which (as "Boogie Woogie") became a hit in 1943 and 1945, and was to become the swing era's second best seller, only second to Glenn Miller's "In the Mood".