Interview with Lasse Jensen

How did you discover boogie woogie music?
It happened when I was 15 years old. I had by that time been playing rock ‘n’ roll like Jerry Lee Lewis for about 3 years and suddenly one day I felt like I wanted more, desired more of a challenge. So I started looking for some music like rock ‘n’ roll where you had the left hand doing a steady rhythm and the right hand improvising – it just had to be out there somewhere! And one day, I found it. The first boogie woogie music I heard was a 30 second clip from Albert Ammons’ Boogie Woogie Stomp – and I was blown away. I immediately knew that I had found my new musical path.

Do you remember which boogie woogie sheet music books you used?
Hmm.. Very interesting question.. I started out by finding a few tunes on the internet; Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie etc. and scans of old sheet music books from the 50’s of inadequate quality. Aside from that, I didn’t use any sheet music books, only my ears and listening to every boogie woogie record I could find. Initially, I listened to Ammons, Johnson & Lewis, but later I found Axel Zwingenberger, who became and remains my big idol. Though the three old masters will always remain present in my conscience.

How did you secure your first gig?
My first gig was on 7th February 2009. I was invited to play a warm-up concert by the blues club “B’Sharp” in Silkeborg, Denmark, playing before American bluesguitarist Sherman Robertson. The club had a project where they wanted to expose Danish, young, upcoming blues artists and offer them a chance to play in front of a live audience.

What are your plans for 2011?
In 2011, I will be participating in Silvan Zingg’s boogie woogie festival in Switzerland, plus perhaps two more festivals. Later this year I’m thinking of organizing a boogie woogie concert with Silvan Zingg, to stir up some interest for boogie woogie in Denmark, since there’s presently none whatsoever. Finding gigs is very hard here, since nobody knows the music nor is anybody prepared to take risks.

Do you have any ‘boogie woogie dreams’ you will be pursuing in the future?
Oh, definitely. I’ll be arranging some duet concerts with two pianists in Denmark. If the first concert with Silvan is successful, it’ll be followed by more concerts with other pianists as well and hopefully it’ll result in a Danish Boogie Woogie Festival!

In addition, I’m thinking of starting a transcribing group with two friends, where we sit down and transcribe all sorts of boogie tunes, both old and new. If the quality is good enough, we might publish them.

And of course, I’ll keep on working on learning new tunes!

2 Responses to Interview with Lasse Jensen

  1. Nancy Woolfolk says:

    I LOVE this. So great!!
    I want to buy some sheet music for my sister.
    She is an advanced classical pianist but has never played boogie or barrelhouse music and I want her to.

    What sheet music do you recommend?

  2. It must have been at the Riverboat Festival 2008 in Silkeborg?
    I was on “Torvet” in Silkeborg listening to Axel Zwingenberger.
    Suddenly Axel Zwingenberger asked a really young guy to come up on the stage and play with him.
    I was all ears! What a feeling this youngster had!
    At that time I was working with a project presenting New Local Blues Talents as introduction to our normal program – in B’sharp a Silkeborg bluesclub, where I was chairman.
    I didn’t get hold of the youngster that night – and he might not be local – but he was really playing splendid boogie.
    I tried to contact a lokal guy, Kim Nedergaard – who I knew had been playing with this youngster. But he couldn’t remember his name or where he lived. I tried different false places untill I contacted Axel Zwingenberger, and he gave me the guys name and adress. His name was Lasse Jensen!
    So I send him a contract on playing in B’sharps regi.
    Then Lasse send me a sms back: “Have I got to sign it?- or has it to be a my father? I’m not 18 yet!”
    I wrote back: “You shall sign it!” That was one of the ideas in.the project – the first real contract!
    Lasse – and his wonderful caring family came – and Lasse made “Rampelys ” rock that night!
    We knew that something big was under way!
    And I think there still is!
    I hope the best in the future for this gifted and damned talented boogie man!
    Kai Krogh Christiansen, er B’sharp chairmen.

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