Arthur Migliazza Boogie Woogie Piano
When Arthur Migliazza, the Boogie Woogie Piano Man, performed at The Lyric Theatre this past spring, he brought down the house. The award-winning blues and Boogie Woogie pianist returns with more of the music that leaves you tapping your toes and leaving the theater happy.
Migliazza didn’t begin studying the piano until he was 13, started with the usual chords and pieces that beginners study, but he was fortunate that his teacher exposed him to many different kinds of music. “One of the things my first teachers exposed me to was the blues,” he said in an interview. “I had a kid’s book of blues and jazz and it was kind of Boogie Woogie, with the left hand repeating the bass and the right hand the chords. I really liked that. I had old recordings and the emotion and style was easy for me to understand. With the left hand playing the bass, you get on auto pilot so the right hand can operate independently for chords and licks.”
Migliazza eventually had the opportunity to study with teachers and mentors Henry Butler, Ann Rabson and Mr. B. Born. He lived in Arizona for many years and felt that Tucson had a pretty good blues scene. They admired him, as well, and in 2014, he was inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame. He was also celebrated in Washington State, where he lived for several years, giving him the 2014 Best of the Blues Award for Best Keyboardist in the state. He was also a finalist in 2010 and 2014 for the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
In 2015, Migliazza had the opportunity to perform off-Broadway in the show Boogie Stomp! which he still takes around the country. “It was a two-piano show,” he said. “It was me and a guy, Bobby, who had played for Chuck Berry for 50 years. He wrote the narrative about the origins of the blues. It ran for four months and was really cool. He had been doing it on the road with an older gentleman who didn’t want to stay on the road and he found me.”
They took the show to Russia on behalf of the U.S. and played throughout the country, including in Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. “The Russians love Boogie Woogie,” he said. “We tend to come up with the cool stuff in America, but then (our tastes) move on.”
For his solo show at The Lyric, he will follow a similar format to Boogie Stomp! but with one piano. “I’ll tell the history of Boogie Woogie piano and stories about the origins and the players,” he said. “There will be jokes woven in. It’s kind of a musical tour. I sing and play and the audience gets to know me a little better. I guarantee they haven’t seen anything like it because not that many people are doing this music in the authentic way. I have a personal style, but I stay true to the elements that made it great in the first place. It’s not just banging away, it’s the subtleties of the music, the story-telling, the playing in the groove. Even if they think they know what they’re going to see, I think it won’t be what they’re expecting. I think they’ll be happy.”