What does "Nonjohn" mean?     John "Nonjohn" Tennison     The official Nonjohn motto

Welcome to nonjohn.com, the official website for music, video, commentary, and other creations by John "Nonjohn" Tennison.

    John "Nonjohn" Tennison is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who writes music for the mind and the body.  When playing Boogie Woogie, Tennison's left-handed ostinato juggernaut and right-handed pyroclastics create a contrapuntal, polyrhythmic, trance-inducing texture that takes Boogie Woogie piano places it has never been before.  Because of his driving, high-energy Boogie Woogie grooves, Tennison has been called "The Texarkana Train."  Harmonically and melodically, Tennison's music usually has a strong sense of tonality (musical key), and has been influenced by the melodies and phrasing of sources as diverse as Bluegrass and the classical music of India.  However, Tennison also ventures into experimental and dissonant harmonies that might sound odd to some ears.  Tennison's intense percussive style has been influenced by African, Arabic, Indian, and Samba drumming.  "Fricking" (an acronym for FingeR pICKING) is the word used by Tennison to refer to his hammer-on style of solo guitar playing.  Tennison's lyrics focus on social critique, timeless philosophical issues, and often have a satirical edge.  Overall, the spirit of Tennison's music is conveyed by the freedom implied by the African Bantu word, "Mbuki Mvuki," which means to remove one's clothes in order to better dance or perform.


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Print Media Archives    The Boogie Woogie Foundation    Fighting for Freedom    Satirical Sideshow    Recommended Websites


Next Public Performance:  Friday, August 28, 2015, from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, at the Allen, Texas Public Library, 300 N. Allen Drive in Allen, Texas.  Call 214-509-4911 for more information.  For the first hour, I will be giving a presentation on the history of Boogie Woogie.  For the second hour, I will be joined by legendary drummer, Sugar Boy Meyers. 

 

PRESS RELEASE by Tom Keener the for August 28, 2015 History Talk and Concert:

     Among its more unusual bragging rights, Texas can lay claim to being the birthplace of Boogie Woogie music. At 7:30 pm Friday, August 28, Boogie Woogie fans can learn more about the origins of this Lone Star State music phenomenon at the Allen Public Library.

    Fasten your seat belt when John Tennison and Sugar Boy Myers take the stage to lay down high-energy Boogie Woogie grooves. Tennison performs Boogie Woogie on piano and will be accompanied by Sugar Boy Myers on drums. Sugar Boy played for the Freddie King band and accompanied Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and other iconic legends.

    Logging camps were located throughout the piney woods of East Texas and piano players moved from one camp to another. On a recent National Public Radio interview, Texas native musician and musicologist John Tennison explained that piano players moved on board the Texas and Pacific Railroad. Tennison states, “Oral histories indicate Boogie Woogie was first played in the early 1870s. Marshall, Texas, was at the geographical center of gravity where Boogie Woogie first came into existence, largely due to the area’s large African American population and Marshall’s location as an important railroad center in the early 1870s.”

    By no later than 1899, Lead Belly had heard Boogie Woogie bass figures being played on piano, and adopted these bass figures in some of his own guitar playing. The American public started to take notice of this musical genre during Carnegie Hall concerts in 1938, and in the 1940s, Glenn Miller, Andrew Sisters and Tommy Dorsey introduced Boogie Woogie to a new generation. Boogie Woogie later influenced a huge number of blues and rock musicians such as Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Thanks to Tennison, U.S. Highway 59, that runs across east Texas from Houston to Texarkana, is often referred to as the "Boogie Woogie" highway.

    Tennison located an important Boogie Woogie pianist named Omar Sharriff in California in 2010; Sharriff had grown up in Marshall, Texas as David Alexander Elam. Tennison’s discovery prompted the people of Marshall to bring Sharriff back to Texas. He lived in Marshall and performed at several acclaimed concerts and events, until his passing in 2012.

    The library is located at 300 N. Allen Drive in Allen, Texas. Call 214-509-4911 for more information.


Recent Public Performance:  7:30 pm, Saturday, May 16, 2015, Marshall, Texas, from the cab of the Texas & Pacific 400 locomotive, which is on the grounds of the historic Texas & Pacific Depot in Marahall, Texas. This concert is for a special cause of raising funds for the Texas & Pacific museum, which is located inside the historic depot. Please join us for this important cause.
  
 

First Public Peformance of 2015 - 8 pm, March 21, 2015 in the Texas Hill Country

YouTube Video from John Tennison's performance at the Boogie Woogie Benefit Concert for Omar Sharriff in Marshall, Texas on March 24, 2012

John Tennison's YouTube Channel -- New Videos Uploaded October 20, 2010


Free Music Downloads

Emergence - Nonjohn's 1993 neo-classical piano dance piece                    MP3 Audio & Lyrics for Nonjohn's satirical single, "Texas Revelations"


Other Video Clips

Nonjohn Jazz - Video Clip of Nonjohn playing Boogie Woogie on his 1918 Knabe 6-foot Grand

World's Largest Operating Steam Locomotive - Video footage of Union Pacific 3985 captured by Nonjohn on June 17, 2004.  This and much more footage of Union Pacific 3985 is contained on Nonjohn's "Texarkana Train Chase" DVD  (See Forbidden Fruit Films.)

Video clips from Nonjohn's Barrelhouse concert:         Boogie Woogie -- Live Boogie Woogie improvisation         Emergence - Live Performance

Nonjohn performs Boogie Woogie in international waters aboard "Ecstasy" superliner on 12- 6-04.    "Unbelievable!" says Larry Garlutzo.  See Video Clip.


"Improvisatory music and dance are the purest forms of worship." -- Nonjohn    "There are no 'wrong' notes, only 'wrong' intentions." -- Nonjohn    "I don't have ideas.  Ideas have me." -- Nonjohn

"In science, you have to deal with figuring out and being constrained by what is 'true' and what is 'false.'  In art, everything is 'true.'" -- Nonjohn


The First Boogie Woogie Heritage Fest was held in Marshall, Texas on April 12 & 13, 2013

Festival performers included Axel Zwingenberger, Lila Ammons, Eden Brent, John Tennison, Christian Dozzler, The Jive Jumpers, and The Ryan Allgood Dancers.


2012 FireAnt Festival, Marshall, Texas


Performing at the Boogie Woogie Benefit Concert for Omar Sharriff in Marshall, Texas, on March 24, 2012


Performing at Antone's in Austin, Texas on March 22, 2011 at the Tribute for Pinetop Perkins, who passed away the day before, March 21, 2011:


FireAnt Festival, Marshall, Texas, October 9th, 2010:

Thanks to the Wiley College Cheerleaders for their great, energetic improvisatory dancing!

Above:  Playing Boogie Woogie piano, hi-hat, and bass drum

Above: Harrison County Courthouse


Nonjohn playing Boogie Woogie at the Three Oaks Bed and Breakfast in Marshall, Texas, on Sunday, October 10, 2010


Other Recent Public Performances

Yale Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, September 14, 2009:

Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne hammers out some Blues and Boogie Woogie.

Diana Braithwaite sings the Blues, accompanied by Chris Whiteley and Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne.

Chris Whiteley, Diana Braithwaite, dancer/actress Jeni LeGon, Frank Clavell (Jeni's husband), Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne, and Nonjohn (AKA John Tennison)


Nonjohn Performing  Boogie Woogie at Skyward Lounge on April 11, 2009, Texarkana, Arkansas


Nonjohn Performing  Boogie Woogie at The Big Easy on April 12, 2009, Texarkana, Arkansas


Nonjohn and Axel Zwingenberger at Axel's Bosendorfer Grand Piano in Vienna, Austria, April, 2006

Axel Zwingenberger is among the most prolific and influential of modern-day performers, composers, and scholars of Boogie Woogie.


Nonjohn Performing on the Water at the International Boogie Woogie Festival in Lugano, Switzerland, April, 2006


All content and associated files on the Nonjohn website:  Copyright 1984-2012 by John "Nonjohn" Tennison.  All Rights Reserved.  Unauthorized duplication or distribution of material from this website is a violation of applicable laws.

On the World Wide Web since 1995!      Website last updated by webmaster, Bill Scribner, on March 14, 2012.