Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Zwingenberger was born in Hamburg, Germany, and enjoyed eleven years of conventional piano training. In 1973 he listened to recordings of Boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons, Meade "Lux" Lewis, and Pete Johnson. He soon joined piano playing partners Hans-Georg Moeller, Vince Weber and Martin Pyrker, and word about the four friends began to spread. In 1974, he played at the First International Blues-and-Boogie Woogie Festival of the West German Radio Station in Cologne which was followed by Hans Maitner's annual festival Stars of Boogie Woogie in Vienna.
By 1975, Zwingenberger received his first recording contract, issuing such solo recordings as Boogie Woogie Breakdown, Power House Boogie, and Boogie Woogie Live, as well as lending his talents to recordings by such artists as Lionel Hampton, Jay McShann, Big Joe Turner, Lloyd Glenn, Joe Newman, Sippie Wallace, Mama Yancey, Champion Jack Dupree, Sammy Price, Ray Bryant, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Vince Weber, and the Mojo Blues Band, among others. In addition to issuing other solo recordings, Zwingenberger continues to tour all over the world. He has also authored several publications about blues/Boogie-woogie music and musicians as well as Boogie Woogie: Piano Solo, a book of 12 of his compositions, exactly transcribed.
Being a railfan since early childhood, he is also known for his photographs of steam locomotives, including some taken from within the machinery itself. Axel established a non-profit foundation within the German Foundation for the Protection of Historical Monuments which donates for the preservation of monuments on rails, including the world's fastest operational steam locomotive, the German DR 18 201.
In spring 2009, coordinated by young pianist Ben Waters from the UK, Axel renewed his relationship with Charlie Watts, drummer of The Rolling Stones. Together with bassist Dave Green, they play joint concerts labeled as "The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie" with increasing fun in front of enthusiastic audiences in the UK and abroad!