"The Rag Man," a review of Edward Berlin's King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era (2nd edition): "As such, to Mr. and Mrs. America circa 1908, ragtime was not “The Entertainer,” but peppy little songs with peppery little lyrics, that you could get up and dance to. Only through these could one make a living, and Joplin had other ideas...." [more inside]
Some highlights from Joshua Rifkin's career(s):
- At the age of 21, in only five weeks, he wrote and conducted The Baroque Beatles Book, an album of Beatles themes rendered in the styles of Bach and Handel.
- On Wildflowers and In My Life, he arranged some of Judy Collin's best tracks, including "Albatross" and "Suzanne."
- Rifkin helped kickstart the 70s ragtime renaissance with three acclaimed Joplin albums.
- In 1981, he published an infamous paper [JSTOR] declaring that Bach's choral work wasn't actually choral work as we understand it. Rather, Bach intended only one singer to take each vocal part...
Old records wear out, and sheet can't really describe the swing of jazz, ragtime and blues—but a good player piano roll captures the style and rhythm of a live performance and preserves it for generations to come. [more inside]
For your listening pleasure, I present to you the Zelda Rag, performed (with no prior practice) by Tom Brier. When that gets old, there's also a ragtime adaptation of the horse race theme from the Ocarina of Time that is not to be missed. And if Zelda's too easy, you can try the theme from Ghosts and Goblins. And, finally, an actual rag from Final Fantasy VI: the Spinach Rag. [more inside]
Performances [MLYT] from the 2010 Old-Time Piano Championship in Peoria. Featuring early March, Cakewalk, Ragtime, Boogie, Stride, Blues, Novelty, Jazz, Classical, and popular song styles from before 1930.
Reginald Robinson won a MacArthur Fellowship grant in 2004 for his original ragtime compositions, but has found it difficult to reach the public. "Even with the MacArthur 'genius' title … I'm invisible." [more inside]
Fans of video game music and/or piano aficionados, I present three pieces from the Super Mario Bros series: Super Mario World's Air Platform rag, SMB2 overworld theme, and SMB1 overworld theme, expertly played "blind" by ragtime pianist Tom Brier. [more inside]
The "Crash at Crush" was the intentional head-on crash of two Katy locomotives on Sept. 15, 1896. The results were not quite what Agent Crush had planned. Scott Joplin wrote The Great Crush Collision March [more pictures] to commemorate the event and it was also an inspiration for 'Head-On' Joe Connelly. [more inside]
"If the truth was really known about the origins of Jazz, it would certainly never be mentioned in polite society." The expression arose sometime during the later nineteenth century in the better brothels of New Orleans, which provided music and dancing as well as sex. Jazz has been around for more than a hundred years now. It is not the result of choosing a tune, but an ideal that is created first in the mind, and willed in the music, inspired by A Passion for Jazz.
Ragtime West: Nickelodeons, Calliopes & Player Pianos, including a beauty owned by Peter Jackson: "the first Ragtime Automated Band in New Zealand".
While culling my clippings file for the big move, I came across Ragtime: No Longer a Novelty in Sepia, which led me to the The Rag-Time Ephemeralist, a labor of love by one Chris Ware , whose 'The Acme Novelty Library' and Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Boy In The World I had long admired. The Ragtime Ephemeralist's mention of Out of Sight - The Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895---here's a review from Musical Traditions--and, its very own links page, as a consequence, led to this post about Ragtime, Cakewalks, Coon Songs and Vaudeville, with a slight nod to Barbershop Quartets. There's more, of course...