John "Nonjohn" Tennison Calendar

Texas Music:  The Untold Stories:  An Official SXSW Music Event

presented by Texas Monthly and ACL Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas at 8 pm on Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Get Tickets Here!        Official Press Release

The First Conlon Nancarrow Conference for New Music was held on Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28, 2019 at Texarkana College.  See Poster for details.

James Greeson's excellent documentary on Conlon Nancarrow was shown on Friday, September 27; On Saturday, September 28, James Greeson and I will both gave presentations.

I presented some of my original compositions and discussed how they were inspired by Conlon Nancarrow.  I also discussed Conlon Nancarrow in relation to Boogie Woogie.

John Tennison's PsychoBoogie Show:  A performance from the cab of the Texas & Pacific Steam Locomotive 400

7:30 pm, Saturday, May 18, 2019, Marshall Texas, at Boogie Woogie Point (on the grounds of the historic Texas & Pacific Depot)

Texarkanon (Symphony for a Single Unprepared Piano), composed by John Tennison

World premiere of all 36 movements of the 17-hour symphony        Free and open to the public

Midnight, Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Texarkana's Arkansas Municipal Auditorium        YouTube Trailer

There was a formal dedication ceremony for the Texas State Historical Commission's marker celebrating Marshall, Texas as The Birthplace of Boogie Woogie

on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, at 2:00 pm at the northeast corner of the Ginocchio Hotel.  The dedication ceremony for the historical marker was free and open to the public.

After the ceremony, John Tennison was  joined by Icy Monroe, Rafael Espinoza, and Benjamin Cohen to present a concert and educational program titlled:

"Boogie Woogie:  The Roots and Their Many Branches"  The musical program explored the vast influence Boogie Woogie has had on diverse genres of music.

Early Music of the Texarkana Region:  Jopplin & Others Before HIm

Presented by Dr. John Tennison, 2 PM, March 31, 2018, Museum of Regional History, Texarkana, Texas

Boogie Woogie was among many genres of music discussed.


2nd Annual Dreamhill Estates Concert was held Saturday, November 4, 2017, San Antonio, Texas.

Scott Joplin International Centennial Celebration -- with Boogie Woogie by John Tennison on Friday, March 31, 2017

The RMHC site noted:  "John Tennison, the world's foremost authority on the origins and development of Boogie-Woogie, can be expected to provide world class performance of that music ranging from its earliest 1870s vintage to his own 21rst century invention of 'Quantonal' Boogie-Woogie."

The premiere performance of the final movement of John Tennison's TEXARKANON (Symphony for a Single Unprepared Piano) occurred on Saturday, December 17, at 7:00 pm, at the Silvermoon Theatre, Texarkana, Texas.  The final movement of TEXARKANON was among other pieces performed at the Regional Music Heritage Center's "Nancarrow Homecoming" concert.  A recording of the whole TEXARKANON symphony (17 hours, comprising 36 movements) is available on flash drive.  See below for the poster for RMHC's "Nancarrow Homecoming" concert.

The Regional Music Heritage Center Presents Concert:  "A Nancarrow Homecoming"

See RMHC for tickets.

Recent Public Performances

Saturday, September 17, 2016, Union Station, Paris, Texas

Saturday, August 27, 2016, San Antonio, Texas

Improvisatory Boogie Woogie for Piano & Drums with John Tennison & George Buckner

8 to 10 pm, Saturday, August 29, 2015, Summerhill Winery, 4050 Summerhill Road, Texarkana, TX     Phone:  903-792-9463

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, Tennison gave a presentation on the history of Boogie Woogie.  For the second hour, Tennison was 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."

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

Other Past Performances

December 2013:  Josephine Theatre, San Antonio, Texas

September 2013:  Josephine Theatre, San Antonio, Texas

First Boogie Woogie Heritage Fest, Marshall, Texas, 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.

Friday, October 12, 2012, FireAnt Festival -- Marshall, Texas

Boogie Woogie Benefit Ball: Tribute to Omar Sharriff, held Saturday, March 24, 2012, 8 pm, in Marshall, Texas.

Performed at the Memorial Tribute Ceremony for Omar Sharriff in Marshall, Texas, Saturday, January 14, 2012

Video of January 14, 2012 memorial comments about Omar Sharriff and Boogie Woogie performance

    "The final musical could only be Boogie Woogie.  And we can't think of a better person on Earth to come play the final Boogie Woogie tribute to Omar than Dr. John Tennison." -- Jack Canson, Marshall, Texas, January 14, 2012.

    "The musical tributes were some of the best I've seen this whole year, especially Dr. John Tennison playing the old boogie woogie and Wes Jeans' speech about Omar's life."  -- Terri Richardson (of the Marshall News Messenger newspaper), posted on the "Marshall Critic" FaceBook page, January 14, 2012.

    "You were amazing on that piano!!  I enjoyed hearing you play so much." -- Diane Jones, Marshall, Texas, January 14, 2012.

    "I heard these words at the funeral service, but very glad to see them here in print, as I’d hoped to see them preserved. A finer man to say them, or articulate enough to express it all, I don’t think is available. Thank you, Sir! You have done something in all these matters, to give honor where it is due to the person and legacy of Omar Sharriff, that would be hard to match. Your final tribute by playing that Boogie Woogie piece on the piano, with such fine accompaniment that also accompanied Omar, was the highlight of my day! I sure hope to hear more, if the City of Marshall might inquire of you and the others, to continue on with some public showings. This would be my wish!" -- Bill English, Marshall, Texas, January 17, 2012.  (Mr. English is reflecting upon both the re-printed comments that had been made by John Tennison Omar Sharriff's memorial tribute, as well as the Boogie Woogie performance by John Tennison and other musicians at the memorial tribute.)

Performed 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, October 9, 2010, Courthouse Square, Marshall, Texas

 Above:  New musicological research from Dr. Schmocter proves that even fireants love Boogie Woogie!

Boogie Woogie at the Blue Frog Grill, Marshall, TX, Monday, January 18th, 2010, at 6:30 pm

101 W. Austin Street, Marshall, Texas  75670-3340

Phone: 903-923-9500

Other Recent Public Performances

Skyward Jazz Lounge, Texarkana, Arkansas, October 18, 2008

3rd Annual Community Music Festival, San Antonio, Texas, October 13, 2007 (with guest drummer Kyle Keener of Small World)

2nd Annual Community Music Festival, San Antonio, Texas, Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rick Henderson (left) plays the sarod.  Nonjohn (right) plays keyboards while wearing his signature ankle bells.

5th International Boogie Woogie Festival, Lugano, Switzerland:  April 20-23, 2006

(As seen in BBC World's "Destination Music" television series)

See and for details about the Festival.

A documentary about the Boogie Woogie Festival was first broadcast by BBC World in its World Music Series: Destination Music on June 2, 2006.

Luna Fine Music Club Performances, San Antonio, TX

Pictured above are Nonjohn (on piano and doumbek), Leanna Rodgers, and others performing at the Luna Fine Music Club in San Antonio, Texas, on January 5, 2005.

1st Annual Community Music Festival, San Antonio, Texas

Luna Fine Music Club (with Gerry Gibbs on drums), September 21, 2005 - San Antonio, TX

Luna Fine Music Club, September 7, 2005 - San Antonio, TX

Luna Fine Music Club (with Gerry Gibbs on drums), August 17, 2005 - San Antonio, TX

Luna Fine Music Club, March 2, 2005 - San Antonio, TX

Texarkana, TX, February 27, 2005

Luna Fine Music Club, January 5, 2005 - San Antonio, TX

Nonjohn released Boogie Woogie Album "Both Hands Like the Devil" on December 31, 2004.  (See "Products" section of the Nonjohn website for details.)

Blue Sapphire Theatre in international waters aboard "Ecstasy" superliner on December 6, 2004      "Unbelievable!" says Larry Garlutzo.  See Video Clip.

Sunday, November 7, 2004, at the "Jazz & Poetry Sunday" of the First Unitarian Universalist Church, San Antonio, Texas.  The church is located at the Intersection of IH-10 and Loop 410 in San Antonio, TX 

Friday, October 29, 2004, 7 to 9 pm at the Tejas Burger Company, 11203 West Ave., San Antonio, TX, Phone:  210-348-6781

Nonjohn tears it up at the Jazz Annex on July 28, 2004! -- Photos

San Antonio Medicine Magazine's feature article described the "prevalent sensation" of Nonjohn's Boogie Woogie as "sheer exuberance." (Page 27, July, 2004, Volume 57, Number 6).  To see the full article, contact to obtain a copy of the July, 2004 issue of San Antonio Medicine.

Thanks to everyone who came to Nonjohn's "Barrelhouse" concert on June 26, 2004, in San Antonio, Texas.  Thanks to everyone who made donations for maintenance of the historic Clubhouse at Dream Hill Estates in which the Barrelhouse concert was held.

Below is an image of the "Barrelhouse" concert poster.  Copies of the poster on thick, glossy 11-by-17-inch cardboard stock are available for $10.00.  Send email to for details.

Palestine Steam Concert Photos from May 15, 2004

Other Past Public Performances

Back to the Nonjohn Home Page