About the Author of “The History of Boogie Woogie”
by John Tennison — History of Boogie Woogie
John Tennison (also known as “Nonjohn”) was born in 1968 in Texarkana, Texas. Texarkana is located in the Red River Valley in Bowie County at the far northeastern corner of Texas. Texarkana is continuous with the Texas Piney Woods and swamp lands that were the fertile ground where the piano style we now know as “Boogie Woogie” is said to have first been played, and where the term “Boogie Woogie” is reported to have transitioned from being a term for dancing and sexual behavior to also being a descriptor for the style of piano music we now know as Boogie Woogie.
Consequently, John Tennison’s exposure to and interest in Boogie Woogie is a direct consequence of Texarkana’s Boogie Woogie heritage. Tennison plays highly-original Boogie Woogies as a form of daily yogic meditation directed by his spontaneous mental impulses. As a consequence, Tennison’s Boogie Woogie performances are in the spirit of “free jazz,” and are thus improvisatory to the degree of not only improvising melodic and rhythmic elements, but also of improvising harmonic changes, tempo changes, and meter changes.
Tennison performs Boogie Woogie in his current home town of San Antonio, Texas, where he performed with drummers, such as Bobby Natanson, Gerry Gibbs, and Kyle Keener. Tennison also performed in Europe at Silvan Zingg’s International Boogie Festival in Switzerland in 2006.
In 2004, Tennison founded The Boogie Woogie Foundation (BoWoFo), a non-profit organization established to foster research, to promote, and to increase the general public knowledge of the origin, history, and broad influence that the Boogie Woogie has had. The BoWoFo website is at www.bowofo.org.
Tennison is also writing a book that will deal heavily with the early history of Boogie Woogie. In particular, Tennison’s book will focus on the evolution of Boogie Woogie from at least as early as the 1870s through 1930. The book will also deal with various ways in which Boogie Woogie continues to influence multiple styles of music that are not necessarily called “Boogie Woogie.”