National touring artist Matthew Ball is coming to Seymour this weekend to perform American boogie, blues, jazz and swing classics from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s.
The concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour is hosted by the Jackson County Public Library and Seymour Parks and Recreation Department. The event will be free through funding by the Friends of the Jackson County Public Library.
Also known as the Boogie Woogie Kid, Ball has had more than 4 million views on YouTube for his piano-playing skills. He also has been referred to as the “fastest fingers in the Midwest.”
He last performed for the Jackson County Public Library in November 2014.
The Michigan attorney-turned-musician was born in Detroit and currently lives in the suburb of Clawson, Michigan. He was practicing law in 2001 when he attended a local music festival. The experience inspired him to take a leap of faith and change his career path from law practice to the performing arts.
“The inspiration to make music a career came after I attended a hometown boogie and blues festival,” Ball said. “That and being fairly disillusioned with the practice of law.”
Ball said he was drawn to that style of music because he thinks boogie, New Orleans and swing music are a special niche of jazz music.
“I chose them because they are the fun type of jazz, the danceable type, and it is still a music that lifts people’s mood today,” Ball said. “It’s a style that can touch the broadest range of age groups, from 2 years old to seriously old.”
Ball is a graduate of Oakland University and University of Detroit and holds degrees in music, history and law. While attending Oakland University, he trained with the famous classical pianist Flavio Varani.
Besides playing piano, Ball also writes and sings songs from the early ragtime, boogie and jazz era. He frequently performs throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Ball also has taken his concerts as far away as Washington, Idaho, Canada, Florida and New York.
“The Seymour concert is scheduled outdoors, so bring a lawn chair or blanket. If weather doesn’t cooperate, it will happen inside,” Ball said. “The music will be piano and song and an upbeat, family-friendly romp through American favorites from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s boogie, blues, New Orleans and swing.”
When asked if he had ever thought about turning a John Mellencamp song into a boogie or jazz number, he said he hadn’t thought of that before, but now, he will think more about it upon returning to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s hometown.
Ball also has other interests besides music.
“I enjoy collecting Star Wars and superhero stuff with my son, who is 8 years old,” he said. “We’ll be seeing the new ‘Avengers’ movie this weekend, for sure.”
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Who: Concert by Matthew Ball, also known as the Boogie Woogie Kid
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Crossroads Community Park along Tipton Street at the railroad tracks across from the old Blish Mill silos in Seymour; in case of rain, the concert will be at the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour
Details: Attendees should bring their own chairs or blankets for seating; no registration is required; CDs will be available for purchase
Information: Boogie Woogie Kid fan page on Facebook, youtube.com or boogiewoogiekid.com