Mr. Boogie Woogie

When music makes your spine tingle and you want to say “WOW” and bounce out of your chair, it must be boogie woogie.

You’ll get that feeling Tuesday evening when Erik-Jan Overbeek – known professionally as “Mr. Boogie Woogie” – brings his hard driving, take-no-prisoners style of piano playing to the Academy Village.

An Arizona Daily Star review of an earlier performance described Mr. Boogie Woogie this way: “It only takes about 30 seconds of listening to ‘the boogie woogie man’ to know this guy belongs in America’s most energetic roadhouses seven nights a week. … Heart patients are advised to check their pacemakers at the door.”

Tuesday’s concert, sponsored by the Arizona Senior Academy, is free and open to the public. It begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Room at the Senior Academy, adjacent to the Community Center at Academy Village, an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East.

Born on April 5, 1967 in the Netherlands, he began playing piano at the age of 8, studying classical music. At the age of 12 he got his first playing job as a piano accompanist for dance classes. When he was 14 he heard Fats Dominoon the radio playing “Swanee River Hop,” and from that moment on, as he recalls it, his fate was sealed. He decided he was going to be a boogie woogie piano player.

“Fats Domino has always been one of my biggest musical influences and until this day I’m still convinced his band was the hardest swingin”’ rhythm & blues band that has ever existed,” he wrote in a tribute album for the legendary New Orleans R&B singer.

During his 30-year career he has opened the stage for international giants of blues like Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Van Morrison, Koko Taylor, Magic Slim and even The Blues Brothers Band.

In 1990, Overbeek formed his own Mr.Boogie Woogie & the Firesweep Bluesband and toured internationally in England, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Corsica and Canada. On his own Firesweep Records label Mr.Boogie Woogie has recorded more than 10 CD’s and singles.

He made his U.S. debut in Tucson in 2001, performing with blues hall of fame artist Lisa Otey. Just a year later Mr. Boogie Woogie played all over the Unites States.

Overbeek was voted the best European blues pianist in 2005 and the best Dutch blues pianist in 2010, when he and his band opened the world famous north Sea Jazz Festival.

Submitted by Rita Miller, Academy Village Volunteer


Mr. Boogie Woogie Rocks: April 2012
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