Boogie-Woogie Is In Good Hands

Jun 8, 2016

Credit Julia Bailey

Boogie-woogie pianist Eden Brent will grace the GLT Summer Concert stage June 11.  The Greenwood, Mississippi native has been immersed in blues music since she met the much older Aibe "Boogaloo" Ames when she was a teen.

"Boogaloo was a fixture here in the delta.  He enjoyed quite a successful career from the middle 1940's through the 1960's in Detroit.  First as a jazz piano player, and swing player with his own band in the 40's.  Up until the mid 60's he did some work with Barry Gordy at the Motown studio's.  Boogaloo had enjoyed a celebrated career, just fortunate for me he fell in love with a woman with ties to Mississippi, so he followed her down here.  I didn't meet Boogaloo until probably 1980 or so."

At that time, Brent was just a teenager, and was surprised when Ames said he was open to working with her.  But she remained persistent, and said after seeing him play a number of times and becoming his "number one groupie," the two began a working relationship.

Eden Brent with mentor Abie "Boogaloo" Ames
Credit Bill Johnson / Delta Democrat Times

"I finally asked him if he'd teach me.  That relationship finally parlayed into a performing duo.  Toward the end of his life, I sort of acted as an adopted granddaughter.  I sound more like him than anyone else in particular.  Certainly the boogie-woogie and blues stuff I do would be colored with Boogaloo all over it."