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The A, B, C & D of Boogie Woogie: Live in Paris

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As one of rock’s most eloquent drummers-and one who never lacked for groove-Charlie Watts always seemed like he’d be a boogie-woogie natural, even if the Rolling Stones tended to avoid that medium. But this is boogie-woogie central here, as you’d expect from this fourpiece’s moniker, with the occasional rock ‘n’ roll backbeat pushing the band in a bluesier direction, almost like we’re hearing live boogie woogie by way of soul jazz.

Watts is part metronome, part bombardier with his crisply accented fills, which-as on “Roll ‘Em Pete”-have a knack for synching up with some of the knottier contours of Dave Green’s bass riffs. This is one rhythm section with a penchant, one might say, for popping, for that expressive, deep-bottomed twang and reverberation that only acoustic instruments seem to provide. At times, as on the opening “Bonsoir Boogie!,” the rhythmic underpinning becomes locomotive-like in quality, as if the band wants to break into a “Mystery Train”-type number, but without the usual gloom, thanks to the robust piano interplay of Ben Waters and Axel Zwingenberger.

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