Caroline came to boogie woogie music through rock ‘n roll on the radio. In her teens, she loved the R & B piano and clearly listened to and learned from the musicians who played boogie woogie piano. She loved Stevie Wonder, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, and (a little later) Elton John and Dr. John. It wasn’t until much later that she heard recordings of the great early players like Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis, and New Orleans players like James Booker and Professor Longhair, who were not on mainstream radio. Following graduation from the University of Kentucky with a BA in English, she took a mind-bending solo 4-month trip to India, then came home to Louisville and started playing piano (the mighty Farfisa) for the first time in a band called Gee Wiz. This set the scene for a series of part-time jobs, allowing her valuable time to postpone making any decisions about the future direction of her life —
After moving to San Francisco in 1978 where she started playing piano more often, gradually getting gigs at now defunct clubs on Broadway and South of Market, and at the still-standing Saloon. The band she played with most often around this time was The Mellotones, which played swing and jump blues..
In 1989 the part-time jobs faded away, and Caroline became a full-time working musician — most often with the Bay Area bands Rhythmtown Jive and The Rhythm Sheiks — and playing a variety of solo gigs including most Sunday brunches for more than 25 years at the now closed (but not because of me) Mama’s Royal Café in Mill Valley.
For the past twenty years, I have played piano with Tom Rigney and Flambeau, have played solo at venues around the U. S. and Europe, and have produced four boogie woogie piano CDs.
1:30 - 2:30 PM @ Memorial Bldg with Carl Sonny Leyland Dueling Pianos
Also see, Tom Rigney & Flambeau schedule