WELCOME!...we maintain the Midi Library as a public service.
Special Thanks!...to John Roache, who furnished the bulk of these notes.
|COMPOSERS and PERFORMERS|
|Donald Ashwander||"Perfessor Bill" Edwards||Frank French||Robin Frost|
|John Gill||S.K.Goodman||Fred Hoeptner||Charles Hunter|
|Hal Isbitz||Scott Joplin||Joseph Lamb||George McClellan|
|Ron "Keeper" O'Dell||Ezequiel Pallejá||John Roache||"Ragtime Bill" Rowland|
|Jack Rummel||James Scott||Galen Wilkes|
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(As written by his family in Volume 1 of "The Music of Donald Ashwander")
Trying to write something brief about Donald Ashwander is a tall order. Donald was so many different things to so many people, and was in many respects an amazing chameleon. Still, he was always unpretentious, incredibly focused, supremely interesting and rarely without a tale to spin or an opinion to proclaim. He had friends and colleagues all over the world, and when he died suddenly on October 26, 1994 of a massive heart attack, it was like something had let the air out of us all.
Alabama-born and raised, Donald's formal education and musical career of four decades was centered in New York City. For 28 years he was Musical Director, composer amd performer with The Paper Bag Players, considered by many to be America's formost children's theater. If you were fortunate to see any of these performances you no doubt are smiling, recalling the rambunctious, tilt-a-whirl pace, imaginative sets and props, top-notch production, acting, singing, dancing, and that wholly infectious music!
Yet Donald had another musical life as well. He composed a wealth of what he referred to as "good ol' southern ragtime," but he didn't stop there. Donald's creative talent also produced cabaret songs, ranging from giddy musical story-stomps to torchy ballads straight out of 1940's film noir, Civil War-inspired operettas, southern gospel-flavored popular songs, and imaginative, skillfully crafted contemporary rags. Donald simply loved to write music, and he was equally as excited when his music was performed by a local cabaret singer as when it was performed by the Royal Ballet of London or the Mobile Civic Ballet.
The Ashwander family is endeavoring to keep Donald's music alive by offering the first of hopefully many music folios. The first volume contains ten of Donald's Rags and includes an audio cassette of him performing the pieces in the folio:
"THE MUSIC OF DONALD ASHWANDER, VOLUME 1"FRIDAY NIGHT (1965) ASTOR PLACE RAG WALTZ (1966) BUSINESS IN TOWN (1966) MOBILE CARNIVAL RAG TANGO (1966) EMPTY PORCHES (1969) WATERLOO RAG (1972) FORGOTTEN BALLROOMS (1983) ON THE HIGHWIRE (1985) PERDIDO BAY MOON RAG (1988) YARD SALE RAG (1992) Price of the folio and included tape is $24.00 plus S&H of $4 (USA), $6 (Canada), $8 (Europe) and $10 (all other). Order from: Ashwander Music c/o Judy Ashwander-Moore P. O. Box 4349 Gulf Shores, AL 36547-4349 TEL: (334) 967-4484 FAX: (334) 967-4486 Send E-mail
"Perfessor Bill" Edwards
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"Perfessor" Bill Edwards, Professional Purveyor of Pleasingly Pianistic Pyrotechnics, has been fascinated with and playing ragtime since the age of five, which translates to some #*$&@ years now. His interest in ragtime and old-time music was spurred by some 10" records left behind by his father when his parents divorced, and which he buried himself in at that time. Specifically, they included recordings of the Firehouse Five Plus Two (still his favorite trad-jazz band), Paul Lingle (legendary Barbary coast pianist), Frankie Carle, and the early Capitol recordings of Lou Busch (Joe "Fingers" Carr), Marvin Ash, and Ray Turner. By ten he was playing the Maple Leaf and Entertainer (before Marvin what's-his-name even). After having spent too long living in the San Fernando Valley (LA), and at the age of 20, he got a steady gig at the Diamond Belle Saloon in Durango, CO. Years later, Bill moved to Virginia and worked some eight years at the Fish Market restaraunt in Alexandria, VA. Bill has regularly participated in the World Championship of Old Time Piano Playing in Decatur, IL which is held each Memorial Day, and has consistently been in the top five, winning the title in 1991. He currently makes appearances at festivals, and is concentrating on adding to his current repitoire of 16 recordings. You can visit him at www.freeyellow.com/members/bedwards/perfbill.htm on the web, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your interest.
Bill has been recording consistently since 1984. Recently, many of the older releases were either re-mastered or re-recorded digitally, so all releases are now digital. Cassettes and Sony Mini-Discs are currently available, with CDs coming later in 1998.
Here are highlights of some of Bill's recordings, of which more detail can be found on his website. "Perfessor" Bill Sings Volumes 1, 2, 3 - Siggnal Sounds CR-108, CR-109, CR-110 Popular and Novelty Songs of the Ragtime Era through the Twenties with instrumental accompaniment and including all of the original verses.Titles include: - Alexander's Ragtime Band - Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home - Please Let Me Sleep - Sailing Down The Chesapeake Bay - Egyptian Ella - The Yankee Doodle Boy - Waitin' For The Robert E. Lee - Oceana Roll - Row, Row, Row - He'd Have To Get Under - Alabamy Bound - By The Beautiful Sea and many, many more. Karaoke versions of many of the songs are also available. Championship Old-Time Piano Special arrangements as played at the yearly contest in Decatur, IL. Titles include: - The Midnight Fire Alarm - Alabamy Bound - Charleston Rag - 12th Street Rag - Sweet Georgia Brown - Alexander's Ragtime Band - Lion Tamer Rag - Tiger Rag Blues You Can Use - Siggnal Sounds CR-114 Early Blues and Blues songs, most in their original format with some improvisation. - Yellow Dog Blues - Beale Street Blues - Doctor Jazz - Honky Tonk Train - Memphis Blues - Deep Henderson - Basin Street Blues - London Blues - Sidewalk Blues - Bobcat Boogie - Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives - St. Louis Blues The Art Of The Rag - Works of Artie Matthews - Siggnal Sounds CR-111 Rags written or were known to be arranged by Artie Matthews, or are similar in style to his pieces. Title include: - Pastime Rags #1-5 - Cactus Rag (arr) - Cataract Rag (arr) - Jinx Rag (arr) - Agitation Rag (arr) - Junk Man Rag (arr) - Lily Rag - Louisiana Rag (Block) and more Strokin' The Ivories - Siggnal Sounds CR-112 Rags, Stomps and Novelty Piano Pieces. Titles include: - Kitten On The Keys - Mule Walk Stomp - Calico Rag - Snowy Morning Blues - Anoma - Billy Goat Stomp - Nickel In The Slot - A Handful Of Keys - Grandpa's Spells - Harlem Strut For more information on ordering, you may write to Bill on email@example.com (also linked on his site), or snail mail to: "Perfessor" Bill Edwards 43498 Postrail Square Ashburn, VA 20147 Thanks for your interest. Enjoy
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Frank French graduated from the San Francisco Music Conservatory and studied classical music in Vienna. He is a featured performer at ragtime festivals across the US and Canada and is co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Ragtime Festival in Boulder, Colorado. Frank has recorded several tapes and CD's and published sheet music portfolios of his original compositions, all of which are available by mail order:
"Bucktown Buck" is a tribute to Jelly Roll Morton and the boys who hung around old Bucktown. It will challenge the most experienced performers and must be played in medium bucktime. Cat. no. SM3 Price: $4.00 postage paid.
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There are no specific notes for each of Mr. Frost's compositions, but please enjoy the information below.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER:
Robin Frost is a contemporary composer living in California, and is a friendly, prolific, humorous, and highly imaginative musician. We're grateful to have so much of his peerless work represented in our pages.
Mr. Frost's work is now available in folio form. For an up-to-date biography and access to his work in print, please visit this page at John Roache's website.
STEPHEN KENT GOODMAN
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Biography and Catalog:
STEPHEN KENT GOODMAN BIOGRAPHY
Bio/profile: Stephen Kent Goodman
Born: 8/12/49, Glendale, CA
Member: ASCAP (American Society Composers, Authors & Publishers); CIDA (Christian Instrumental Director's Assn.); The Maple Leaf Club
At age 14, I dropped out of junior high school to form my own professional concert band, which lasted about a year. I conducted a massed band made up of several high school bands performing my marches at the World's Fair of 1964-65, and in 1966, became the youngest guest conductor of the last professional concert band in America, performing in Central Park in New York City (Guggenheim Memorial Concert's Goldman Band). After earning a musical composition scholarship to the University of Southern California in 1968, I cut classes to learn automatic musical instrument rebuilding from professionals. Several years later, I opened my own restoration shop in Beaumont, CA., rebuilding orchestrions, player pianos and band organs.
At age 23, I was elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and did professional scoring in Hollywood of films and commercials, plus worked as an A & R man in a recording studio.
Ragtime for bands?
You bet. Ragtime was regularly played by bands in the 1896-1917 years. Not only was it arranged from piano scores, but much original ragtime was written specifically for band, some never making it into piano score format at all. (Refer to the recordings offered in my catalog listing).
Contrary to rumors, not only did John Philip Sousa introduce ragtime and the Cakewalk to Europe from his band's first european tour of 1899, but used syncopation in many of his suites and descriptive characteristics. Right now, I'm arranging a 4-handed and piano roll medley made up of his cakewalk/rag-time themes. It's very revealing about a composer who supposedly "hated" ragtime, and belies the self-appointed ragtime experts!
In the early 1980s, I began composing original ragtime for concert bands, brass bands & other instrumental ensembles. Today, my compositions are published by Bernel Music, Ltd. (brass band), Bourne Co. (concert band), Concert Works Unlimited, Dorn Publications, Ludwig Music Publishing, Manhattan Beach Music, plus my own company, Sound Traditions Publishing, which in addition to publishing band & orchestra ragtime, has the largest listing available today of ragtime and old-style blues for saxophone quartet.
1995 marks the 4th year I have been awarded an ASCAP Popular Music Composition Award for ragtime. In 1987, my rag for band, "That Newport Rag", was commissioned by the city of Newport, Oregon as their "official" music. I have also received commissions from the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, The Brazil Concert Band, to name a couple. I have contributed articles on ragtime, particularly for band, for "The Rag Times" (15522 Ricky Ct., Grass Valley, CA 95949) and was ragtime editor for "The West Coast Rag" from 1990-91.
The demand for ragtime for bands and orchestras is brisk and growing fast-both for my originals as well as arrangements I have made.
A complete current listing of information regarding Mr. Goodman's work in print can be obtained by downloading a Goodman file from John Roache's Contemporary Composers page.
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About the Performer:
John Gill has been described in Australia's Bulletin Magazine as the 'Greatest Stride Pianist in the Land'. It would be fair to say that John Gill is one of the finest ragtime, stride and early jazz piano players in the World. John has represented Australia at the prestigeous Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival held in Sedalia, Missouri USA as well as performing as a soloist at concert venues throughout the USA. His skill on the keyboard and his technical knowledge of the music he performs has gained him the reputation for being a World Class Performer. John performs the compositions of Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Willie 'The Lion' Smith, Joseph Lamb, James P. Johnson and the great Fats Waller in a show that will enthrall you with this one man's talent. John Gill has been a featured artist at concert venues throughout Australia. John Gill lives in Perth, Western Australia and travels frequently to Australia's East Coast for engagements and Festivals. He has made numerous recordings, more recently in the USA.
Born in 1954, John Gill became interested in piano at an early age. He began piano studies at the age of six but disagreed with his teacher on the improvisation of Bach. Thus, John sought his own musical education through listening and studying styles. This developed John into a pianist who can perform many styles of music from the light classics, Show Music, Movie Themes and his Early Jazz Pianists music. John performs with great verve and will always consider his audiences by offering them a request segment at the completionof his shows. Needless to say, John Gill has endeared himself to people through his talent. He is featured regularly on radio and television in Perth.
John has gained himself a reputation for his busking (street performer) skills. With a piano on a trolley John Gill performs to tourists and lunch time crowds in the Hay and Murray Street Malls in Perth City. He recently toured the USA in 1995 and as result of an invitation he is now an accredited Bosendorfer Concert Artist. His name is now associated with well known artists such as Victor Borge, Chick Corea, Philippe Entremont, Andre Previn and Oscar Peterson. A great honour to a truly great Australian Pianist.
John Gill is available for private and public engagements. He can be contacted through John Stuart - 63 Alma Road, Mount Lawley, WA 6050. Tel: (09) 328 7605 Fax: (09) 227 6905.
Available Material by John GillRECORDINGS RHYTHM KING John Gill, Piano Boombox Records P.O. Box 1856 Watsonville, CA 95077 (408) 728-7020, FAX (408) 724-5556 ID#: BBRCD-JG1 RHYTHM KING Program Notes by John Gill 1.VALENTINE STOMP by Fats Waller - a stride classic for the late '20's, dedicated to Hazel Valentine, For whom Fats worked. 2.DILL PICKLES by Charles L. Johnson - one of the most popular rags of all time, still in the classic mold, but also one of the first to use the three over four (rhythmic) device. 3.LITTLE DOG'S BLUES by John Gill - a simple tune to the memory of "Little Dog" who belonged to Gretel James, a friend in Melbourne. 4.THE PEARLS by "Jelly Roll" Morton - not a blues, not a rag; but a happy bridge between the two. One of Jelly's best. 5.VIPER'S DRAG by Fats Waller - a great showpiece containing two moods: Down and very UP. 6.FATS WALLER MEDLEY - This medley contains several of Fats' favorites and also some of his lesser-known compositions. 7.VALSE MIROIR by Jean Baptiste Lafreniere - This is a "light classical" piece of music which invokes a flavor of the Musette accordion of Paris and also the charm of the ragtime waltz. 8.ORIENTAL TONES by Fats Waller - A novelty piece of Waller's which isn't played often enough. 9.PAVANE FOR KOOLAMA by John Gill - I wrote this as part of the music for the Australian film, "The Koolama Incident". 10.PERFECT RAG by "Jelly Roll" Morton - (Paraphrase) - Jelly never played anything the same twice. Perhaps because of that, I felt free to "let rip" with this rendition. (After all, music is for enjoyment.) 11.HELIOTROPE BOQUET by Louis Chauvin & Scott Joplin - "an audible poetry of motion" This is such a beautiful composition to me that it is extended here to build the tension up to the point that the second strain has to "swing". 12.RAGTIME DANCE by Scott Joplin - This is a Joplin classic. I have adapted the long orchestral introduction as a forerunner to the standard verion and include the "stomps" in the stomp-time section. 13.MULE WALK STOMP by James P. Johnson - One of his finest stride pieces? No! One of THE finest stride pieces. It rocks along! ALL BY MYSELF John Gill, Piano PianoMania Music Publishing 8300 Sierra College Blvd., Suite D Roseville, California 95661 (916) 791-8079 ID#CD-110 PROGRAM: 1.Old Miss Rag - W. C. Handy 2.All By Myself - 3.Medley Margie Bill Bailey Dinah Marie 4.Black & Blue - Fats Waller 5.Wildcat Blues - Fats Waller 6.King Chanticleer 7.After You've Gone 8.Medley Darktown Strutter's Ball Mississippi Mud Alabama Jubilee Sailing along the Chesapeake Bay 9.Viper's Drag - Fats Waller 10.Original Rags - Scott Joplin 11.Ain't She Sweet 12.Jingles - James P. Johnson 13.Tishomingo Blues - W. C. Handy 14.Keep Your Temper - Willie "The Lion" Smith 15.Laughin Cryin' Blues - Fats Waller 16.Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone 17.Maple Leaf Rag - Scott Joplin 18.The House Cleaning Blues 19.The Lovliest Night of the Year SIDEWALK BLUES John Gill, Piano PianoMania Music Publishing 8300 Sierra College Blvd., Suite D Roseville, California 95661 (916) 791-8079 ID#CD-121 PROGRAM: 1.Sidewalk Blues - Jelly Roll Morton 2.Georgia On My Mind - Hoagy Carmichael 3.Working Man Blues - "King" Oliver 4.Dr. Jazz - "King" Oliver 5.Bethena - Scott Joplin 6.Medley I'll Always Be In Love With You It's A Sin To Tell A Lie My Blue Heaven I'll Always Be In Love With You 7.Chicago Breakdown - Jelly Roll Morton 8.Humoresque - Dvorak 9.The Joint is Jumpin' - Fats Waller 10.Cryin' for the Carolines - Harry Warren 11.Soothing Syrup Stomp - Fats Waller 12.Don't Get Around Much Anymore - Duke Ellington 13.Pineapple Rag - Scot Joplin 14.Weary Blues - Artie Matthews 15.Medley When Rastus Plays His Old Kazoo Who's Sorry Now Wait Till The Sun Shines Nellie 16.I'm Crazy Bout My Baby - Fats Waller 17.Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out - J. Cox 18.You've Gotta' See Mama Every Night - Rose & Conrad 19.Riverboat Shuffle - Hoagy Carmichael
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About the Composer:
I met Fred Hoeptner at a meeting of the Rose Leaf Ragtime Society in Pasadena, California. That night he played this hauntingly sentimental piece. I loved it and asked if he could give me a copy of the manuscript so that I might sequence it and share it with the world through my Internet WWW Page. We are fortunate that he agreed to share this lovely piece.
If you would like to purchase a copy of this piece or any of his other fine ragtime compositions, please write to Fred Hoeptner 2434 Fairmont Ave., LaCrescenta, CA 91214
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ABOUT THE COMPOSER: Rudi Blesh in his book "They All Played Ragtime" describes the life of Charles Hunter as follows:
"Charles H. Hunter of Nashville, Tennessee, is a white pioneer of rag-time whose life, by contrast with the lives of Charles Johnson and his worldly and successful [white] group, reads like that of a Negro composer. The short span of his years in some ways parallels the brief story of Louis Chauvin. One cannot say that in 1878 at Columbia Tennessee, Charles H. Hunter saw the light of day, for he was born almost totally blind. Hunter was a red-haired, freckled youth, muscular, and of medium height when he left the School for the Blind and went to work for the Jesse French Piano Company in Nashville at the piano tuner's trade which he had learned in school. Among the pianos he was free to learn an art, too, that of the self-taught pianist. There was no classical training, no technique of roulades and trills or intricate fingering to stand between the blind, good-natured, but keenly sensitive boy and the folk music that filled the streets of Nashville and the small hill farms that surrounded it.
"The pure strains of the people are in Charles Hunter's music, and the evocations too of the scenes his blind eyes never saw, of possum and sweet-potato feast on the rough table of the log cabin, of hunting amoung the hackberry trees, the sumacs and the aromatic sassafras on the slopes, of cotton bolls gleaming white on the bushes amoung the laborers' black hands and faces.
"F.G.Fite of Nashville published Hunter's first rag in 1899. "Tickled to Death" bespeaks in its archaic and very raggy measures a genuine talent, one much akin melodically to that of Tom Turpin. This first Hunter number became very popular throughout the country and is to be found on a number of early piano rolls as well as early phonograph cylinders and disks. The fine rag, "A Tennessee Tantalizer" appeared the following year under the Nashville imprint of H. A. French. The same firm brought out two Hunter works in 1901, "'Possum and 'Taters" and "Queen of Love - Two Step". The latter number, it is true, is arranged without syncopation in the score, but it rags very easily and there is no reason to douby that as played by Hunter it was a ragtime number.
"In 1902 Charles Hunter was transfered to Jesse French's St. Louis store. The same year saw Fite's publication of his "Just Ask Me. Why We Smile". Although it may have been composed in St.Louis, it is a fine folk rag full o Tennessee memories.
"Two years elapsed before another Hunter rag appeared, this one published by Charles K. Harris of New York. Its title "Back to Life", signalizing its composer's return to the lists, was one of bad omen otherwise, for in less than two years the gifted blind man was dead. One further tune remains from Hunter's pen. This is "Seraphine Waltzes", a 1905 Stark publication.
"Before all this, however, the free life of the St.Louis District had opened its doors for Hunter as it had for Louis Chauvin. He forsook his job to spend his time there. Led from wine room to wine room, he played for the underworld and received in return the gift of thoughtless living. Liquor and women hastened his steps down the road that Chauvin was following. Some time in 1906, Hunter straightened himself out and married, but it was too late. Tuberculosis possessed his body and that year or early in 1907, only six weeks after his marriage, he died."
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Hal Isbitz is a retired computer programmer who lives in Santa Barbara California. He is a classically trained musician. He started writing ragtime in the mid-70's and to date has written over 70 rags and related pieces. Hal's music is routinely performed at ragtime festivals around the world. Several of his compositions have been recorded by the top ragtime stars. He has published sheet music and portfolios of his original compositions, all of which are available by mail order:SHEET MUSIC: "Elephant Street Rag" Price $4.00 PORTFOLIOS: "Twelve Piano Rags by Hal Izbitz" Contains: "Banana Peel Rag", "Beer & Skittles", "Cameo Rag", "Carmel-by-the-Sea", "Chandelier Rag", "Consolation Rag", "Fire Fall", "Holiday Rag", "Opalescence", "Palmetto Rag", "Russian Maple Leaf Rag", "Sweet Alyssum". Price $21.00 "Blue Gardenia, Twelve Latin American Piano Pieces by Hal Isbitz" Contains: "At Midnight", "Blue Gardenia", "Caterina", "Copacabana", "Dolores", "The Flirt", "Margarita", "La Mariposa", "Meditation", "Miranda", "Morelia", "Pierre". Price $21.00 "Panamericana, Twelve Piano Pieces by Hal Isbitz" Contains: "Bonbon", A Day in the Country", Elephant Street Rag", "The Guacamole Dip", "Jacaranda", "A Pearl Street Souvenir", "Pôrto Alegre", "San Juan Bautista", "Sharpshooter Rag", "A Summer Shower", "Sunset Cliffs", "Tortuga Blues". Price $21.00ORDER FROM:
5238 Calle Morelia
Santa Barbara CA 93111-2503
SCOTT JOPLIN 1868-1917
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Scott Joplin, once lost to obscurity, has finally found his place in the sun and been accorded his rightful position as one of the first truly American composers. He was one of the nation's music pioneers, for he was the first to develop fully that pianistic form which could be considered the initial American art form, the piano rag. On the one hand, it is amazing that it took such a long time for the genius of this black composer to be recognized; on the other, his recent rise from obscurity symbolizes the prevailing attitudes of our past and present society. Although Joplin was respected by his peers as "The King of Ragtime Writers," the musical establishment refused to acknowledge his work as a bona fide means of musical expression. Now, however, we have his collected works in print, as well as significant articles and books about him written by some of the foremost music authorities and critics on the nation. The continuing interest in Joplin is clearly based on the fact that the musical world has finally come to realize the uniqueness of his contributions to music.
(Excerpt furnished by John Roache as taken from Ragtime, Its History, Composers, and Music by John Edward Haase and courtesy of the RAGTIME HOME PAGE - http://ragtimers.org/)
JOSEPH FRANCIS LAMB 1887-
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Joseph Lamb is included with Scott Joplin and James Scott as one of the three acknowledged "fathers of ragtime." Born in New Jersey in 1887, Lamb grew up with no musical education. His two sisters were classical pianists and he learned music by listening to his sisters' playing. He had an early appreciation of ragtime and composed his first rag at the age of 9. He always loved the compositions of Scott Joplin and always strived to "play just like him". A chance meeting of Scott Joplin at the office of music publisher John Stark proved to be the "meeting of a lifetime "for the young Joe Lamb.
He was introduced to Joplin by Stark and Joplin liked Lamb's rags so much that he volunteered to put his name on Lamb's first published rag, "Sensation". Joplin said "people don't know you, but when they see the name Scott Joplin on the rag, they'll buy it". Stark published the rag with Lamb listed as composer and Scott Joplin as arranger. The rag sold very well and from then on, Stark published anything that Lamb wrote. Needless to say, the name of Scott Joplin was no longer needed on Joseph Lamb's Rags.
In his book "They All Played Ragtime", ragtime historian Rudi Blesh writes: "Joseph Francis Lamb is one of the phenomena of ragtime. Born in the East with little or no Negro music in his environment, he became one of the few white men to write rags that are thoroughly Negroid and worthy to stand with the very best. He did this without copying and while giving vent to his own musical inspiration on a purely musical plane before he met Joplin. He simply liked ragtime, and that of Joplin the best, and wanted to compose music of that sort."
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Born in 1926 into a musical family where almost everyone played some instrument by ear, and singing in harmony was a frequent family entertainment, George McClellan began to learn piano at age six, by ear. Aided and abetted by a brother ten years older, he learned to recognize the sounds of the various essential chord forms: sixths, sevenths, major, minor, diminished, augmented and their logical combinations. Later efforts to teach him to read music were fruitless for, while laboring painfully through dull piano pieces assigned by his instructor, he would almost invariably encounter a combination of chords which would remind him of something needed to complete or embellish his concept of another (popular) song's chord progression, whereupon the practice session would end. He played second violin in the high school orchestra, where he gained minimal understanding of printed music.
Throughout his life, original tunes have popped into his mind. Some would be developed completely, including full orchestral performances - all in his head, of course. They were never written due to the dual deficiencies in time and drafting skills. Retirement from an engineering career in 1991 and the acquisition of a computer and software gave him the time and the means to begin putting on paper the tunes which still manifest themselves to him. He began to write and copyright music of various styles, including ragtime.
A super dose of ragtime at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in 1994 did much to focus his attention on this happy, light-hearted music form, He has now copyrighted a dozen rags, all arranged for piano, and a number of pieces in other styles for both piano and small combos.
RON "KEEPER" O'DELL
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ABOUT THE PERFORMER / COMPOSER:
So how did I get into ragtime?
I remember liking The Entertainer when growing up in the '70s (OK, so I'm a youngster compared to most ragtime lovers), but only in retrospect. What really got my attention, though, was when downloading a bunch of SID-Player files for my C64 one day -- a few things here and there. One of the titles I saw was, sure enough, The Entertainer, arranged by a guy called John Roache. You may have heard of him.
Well, I liked it, so along with files by a few other SID artists, I went on a downloading rampage, and soon was quite familiar with the ragtime greats. I particularly liked the music of Joseph Lamb. Eventually, I got an Amiga, and it had sampled sounds (better quality than my PC's sound card in some cases) though it only could play four notes at once. Still, that was one better than the C64, and back then (1986) no PC could match that sound.
So I began to enter John's SID-Player files into the Amiga, adding a few notes where the Amiga's extra ability would allow. Unfortunately, my own ability in terms of musical knowledge wasn't good enough and I'd hate to go back and listen to those old files now.
Eventually, I got it into my head to actually buy some sheet music and do some arranging of my own. And so it began... I did about two floppy disks full of four-voice stuff before finding a good deal on a used Korg P3 MIDI piano sound module. By that time, I'd already tried composing (the initial version of Spontaneity Rag -- yes, it actually was back in about '88 when I wrote the first draft of that, come to think about it).
I never knew there was a ragtime scene. One day in 1993, I was thumbing through the newspaper and saw the word RAGTIME written. It was a phone number in Santa Cruz. I called it, and the guy there informed me of a ragtime radio show that had been on the air in this area since 1978. The people at this (408) RAG-TIME phone number actually are trad jazz fans, and they were putting on a festival nearby (that's what the entry in the newspaper was about). I remember some nice jazz SID-Player files so went to the festival, taking the poor-quality sheet music copies of my rags with me.
There were few pianists there, but Marty Eggers did take a look at what I had composed to that point (not much). I got many strange looks, as the youngest in attendance (other than the performers) by about 40 years. The bands didn't really do much for me, and it was there that I began to realize that "trad jazz" today for the most part is immensely boring. I do like the original "jass" recordings I've heard, and any groups which recreate that sound, though.
I began to listen to the radio show (From Rags to Wishes, now on Sundays from 4-7 on KAZU 90.3 in Pacific Grove, Calif.) and really for the first time got exposed to what actual played ragtime sounded like. For the most part, my only exposure had been through computer files and the sheet music I was buying.
I heard on the radio show about a new ragtime festival starting up here, the Monterey Bay ragtime festival. At about the same time, I was starting to think that there should be a place on usenet for ragtime. I began reading rec.music.makers.piano and found a couple ragtime-minded folks, including Mary Haley, whom I later met at the festival.
By 1994, I decided that there simply must be other people like me who loved ragtime but had no idea there was a ragtime scene and performers like Frank French, Scott Kirby and David Thomas Roberts. So I drafted up a Request For Discussion and first sent it to Mary, who sent it to a few others. People agreed with its content, so I posted it to news.groups. There were no disapproving replies, so I arranged an independent votetaker and submitted the Call For Votes on the creation of rec.music.ragtime.
There was a low voter turnout, but the group passed, and on February 14th, 1995, rec.music.ragtime was born. After a month or two, who should I see post to the group I created, but John Roache -- the man responsible for my ragtime mania. We'd come full circle.
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ABOUT THE PERFORMER / COMPOSER:
Ezequiel Pallejá was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 25 1943. Musically gifted, he studied piano with his mother as a child, and studied clarinet for a year in 1968. He's been a fan of New Orleans Jazz since 1958, when he heard a 78 rpm of Alligator Crawl and Willy the Whipper, by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven.
By the age of 16, he led his first jazz band, the "Tiempos Viejos Jazz Band", and took part in several Argentine bands: Roseland Jazz Band, Guardia Vieja Jazz Band, Antigua Jazz Band (cofounder), Eureka Jazz Band, and now the Fenix Jazz Band, which plays every Saturday night at the Café Tortoni, a traditional Buenos Aires hotspot. He also enjoys playing Ragtime solo or with small bands, and presently leads the Buenos Aires Rag Time Trio, playing contrabass and clarinet.
A professor at the University of Buenos Aires, he is a well known engineer in geodesy and geophysics; belongs to the International Association of Geodesy; won a Canadian technical award; and has participated in numerous international working groups.
JOHN E. ROACHE
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ABOUT THE PERFORMER:
Go to John's Website
John's Ragtime CD, "Syncopated Odyssey"
John's E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi - I am a Pharmacist living and practicing in Torrance, California (a suburb of Los Angeles). I am also an amateur Ragtime MIDI musician. I have been playing piano and keyboards for over 40 years. Although I am an accomplished musician, I have not been fortunate to be born with hands large enough to play ragtime and stride piano with the expertise to satisfy my expectations. In the middle 80's I wanted to share the joys of ragtime with the younger generations and thus began to create ragtime music files on my Commodore-64 computer using the SIDPLAYER music composition program. These SIDplayer music files were uploaded to the Q-Link Commodore network (the grand-daddy of AOL) and their fame spread.
Early in 1994, I discovered the power and flexibility of MIDI sequencing. Again wishing to spread the joy of ragtime to the younger generations, I created the Ragtime MIDI Library Web Page and uploaded my MIDI sequences to the Library. Over the next few years my MIDI music received world-wide attention and acclaim. I was pleased when many fans of my original SIDplayer music visited my new web page and signed my guestbook. It had been ten years since SIDplayer and the music was still remembered!
Orginally created with Cakewalk Pro 3.01 for Windows and a Soundblaster AWE32 sound card, my MIDI sequences are now produced using Cakewalk Pro-Audio 6.0 for Windows 95, a Soundblaster AWE64-Gold sound card, and a Roland RD-500 digital stage piano.
In 1997 I was asked to present a seminar at that year's West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California. The subject of the seminar was the production of ragtime music using MIDI technology. The seminar was well attended and indicated to me that the ragtime community is beginning to accept this technology when properly performed and executed. Late the same year I was convinced that the world was ready for a commercial recording of MIDI-produced ragtime music and I produced the music CD "Syncopated Odyssey". It has received a fair amount of critical acclaim and attention.
"Ragtime Bill" Rowland
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Bill Rowland was born in 1948 in Windsor, Missouri, just a few miles out of Sedalia, which was the birthplace of Classical Ragtime fifty years before. As the son of a Methodist minister he was exposed to music from birth and started playing the piano by ear by the time he was three. He was composing Ragtime by age 15, when he cultivated the friendship of "Ragtime Bob" Darch. He became a piano technician, working primarily in the Joplin, Missouri area while continuing to write music, and in 1975 his rag "Tickled Pink" won the first Original Ragtime Composition Contest at the Scott Joplin Ragtime festival in Sedalia, and was subsequently published in the "Ragtime Current" folio of music selected and edited by Rudi Blesh and published by E. B. Marks.
He is still writing Ragtime, and two more of his pieces have received honors at the Scott Joplin Festival Original Rag Contest, Honorable Mention in 1997 and top prize again in 1999. Bill's primary compositional focus in the past few years has been in the field of anthems for church choir, and several of his pieces have been published by Abingdon Press. In the mid 1980s he went back to college for a Computer Science degree and now is a programmer/analyst in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. He and his wife Linda have three daughters and five grandchildren. He has issued a CD with seventeen of his original rags titled "30 Years of Ragtime."
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About the composer:
Born in 1939 in Tacoma, Washington, Jack Rummel has pursued the piano as an amateur most of his life. He discovered ragtime in the 195Os through the recordings of Joe "Fingers" Carr. but began serious study of the idiom in 1971 after hearing Joplin's music performed by Joshua Rifkin. Composition followed in 1978 and 20 of his rags have been published as folios and as sheet music. He writes articles and record reviews for ragtime publications, has hosted a weekly ragtime radio program since 1980, has recorded for Stomp-Off Records and performs periodically at ragtime and jazz festivals. He practices dentistry in Boulder, Colorado.
Other Available Material by Jack Rummel.. Printed music.... BUG BITES. A novelty fox-trot. (Sheet music- $3.50) LONE JACK TO KNOB NOSTER. A rollicking Missouri folk rag. (Sheet music- $3.50) RIO DULCE REVERIE. Introspective ragtime. (Sheet music- $3.50) NINE CONTEMPORARY RAGS. Includes Columbine Rag, Fallen Arches, Don't Ask Me, Mim's Rag, Portrait of a Silver Lady, Mississippi Soul, Waiting for the Zenith, The Saturday Afternoon Rag and The West Texas Fiddler. (Folio- $12.50) NINE MORE CONTEMPORARY RAGS. Includes City Limits, A Tennessee Maple Leaf, Santa Fe Summer, Blues for Miss Piggy, La Graziosa, Down Under, A Quiet Snowfall, Niwot's Curse and Augusta. (Folio- $12.50) A WESTERN RAGTIME TRILOGY. Includes Back to Grass Valley, When The Work Is Done I'll Dance, and The Cowboy Crooner. (Mini-folio- $9.00) CITY LIMITS. A special arrangement of this charming rag for 4-octave and 5-octave handbell choirs. (Sheet music- inquire for availability) ...Plus the following recordings... BACK TO RAGTIME. Contains 8 original rags plus works by contemporary composers Peter Lundberg, David Thomas Roberts, Tom Shea and three rags from 1905-1910. (LP or cassette -$10.00) RAGTIME: A CONTEMPORARY SAMPLER. Contains 5 original rags plus works by contemporary composers Richard Egan, John Hancock, Glenn Jenks, Molly Kaufmann, David Thomas Roberts, Tom Shea and Trebor Tichenor. (Cassette only -$10.00) LONE JACK: TODAY'S RAGTIME. Contains 7 original rags plus works by contemporary composers Frank French, John Hancock, Hal Isbitz, Tom McDermott, David Thomas Roberts, Tom Shea, Galen Wilkes and Richard Zimmerman. (Compact disc only- 15.00) ...and piano rolls... MISSISSIPPI SOUL. A rousing rag in the folk tradition. (Piano roll- $20.00) PORTRAIT OF A SILVER LADY - A Waltz For The Rio Grande Railroad. A romantic syncopated waltz, an ode to an opulent but tarnished passenger train. (Piano roll - $20.00) Add $2.00 shipping per order. To order, write or call: Jack Rummel Diagonal Music Company 3400 Penrose Place, Suite 105 Boulder, Colorado 80301 USA (303) 449-3131
JAMES SCOTT 1885-1938
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Rudi Blesh, in his book "They All Played Ragtime" writes about James Scott:
"In the tiny town of Neosho, Missouri, in 1886, when James Sylvester Scott was born into the humble Negro household of North Carolina-bred James and Mollie Scott. Prolific Missouri had added a name that, though it appears in no news items or directories of the day, was later to designate ragtime's second greatest composer."
"James was about thirteen or fourteen when the family moved to Ottawa, Kansas, where his cousins lived. Before this he had become an accomplished pianist. Partly he owed this to an older Negro in Neosho, John Coleman, himself a fine player, who gave the boy about thirty lessons, including sight reading after Jimmy had already made considerable progress by ear. He had been born with that rarity, a sense of absolute pitch, which as a child he loved to exercise as a guessing game. Instead of guessing single notes, however, he insisted on chords. His training was all a catch-as-catch-can process because the Scotts owned no piano. James played his first composition on the cabinet organ in the Ottawa home of his cousin Ruth. It is amusing to speculate that the old, handed-down reed instrument may originally have been one of those sold from the ice-cream wagon of peddler John Stark."
"The two families moved together down to Carthage, just above the town of Joplin in Missouri's southwest corner. In Carthage, James continued to practice on the ancient reed organ until Ruth Callahan's family moved away. At this point Scott's father bought a pirno for his talented son. James was next to the oldest in the family of six children housed in a wooden frame cottage at Fifth and Valley Streets. Lena Was older than he and he was followed by Douglas, Oliver, Bessie, and Howard. Their mother played the piano, and the other children became fair players by ear"
"James never exceeded the five-foot-four height that he had then reached, though he later became more stocky. He was a quiet youth of a quick, knowing alertness. He went to work to help support the family, and his first job was that of shoeshine boy in a Carthage barber shop. He was only sixteen when he got a job at the Dumars music store washing windows and learning a Dumars sideline, the art of framing pictures. One day the owner, hearing the muffled sound of syncopated strains coming through the stockroom door, suprised James playing on one of the stockroom pianos. He asked: "Can You Read?""
"Read and Play", said Scott, and from that day he waited on customers and plugged the sheet-music stock of the firm. He was spurred to composition, too, and one of his march tunes, capturing Dumars's ear, put the music dealer into the publishing business much as Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" had started John Stark. The Dumars career as publisher was short in years and sparse in issue, for he hit no jackpot such as Stark had hit."
"Scott was a fixture with Dumars until around 1914, when at twenty-eight he ended his twelve year connection with the music house and left Carthage. In the meantime he had visited St. Louis and met Scott Joplin. His contact with John Stark gave him a publishing outlet that he felt he could depend upon for a long time to come. It was this year that the St. Louis publisher brought out with considerable success one of Scott's masterpieces, the "Climax Rag", as well as a waltz, "Suffragette", which commemorates a war then raging on the home front.
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Galen Wilkes has been active on the ragtime scene since the mid 1970's Shortly after learning to play piano rags, he bagan composing and has written some of the most popular contemporary rags heard at festivals today, including "The Creeks of the MIssouri", "Whippoorwil Hollow", "Sedalia Stomp", and "The Oyster Shimmy". These, and others, have been recorded by some of ragtime's top players. His rags are not only authentic sounding, but have the appeal of the old favorites.
Mr. Wilkes is also one of ragtime's top scholars, conducting original research, publishing articles, giving seminars, teaching classes and broadcasting. He produced and hosted "The Ragtime Years" (1976-1978) for WVHC in New York, "It's Rag Time" (1980-1987) for KCSN and guest hosted on KPCC, both in the Los Angeles area. He's appeared at the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, MO, The West Coast Ragtime Festival in Fresno, CA and founded and directed the New England Ragtime Festival. He contributed to "The Music Of James Scott" published by the Smithsonian and Pearl Records "Keyboard Wizards of the Gershwin Era". He is currently finishing his first book on the early history of ragtime recordings.
His many rags are available in two folios, with ten rags in each volume that cover a variety of styles: classic, folk, and popular novelty. They are $12.00 postpaid each. "The Oyster Shimmy" and "Niantic By The Sea" are available separately for $4.oo postpaid each. Order from Galen Wilkes, P.O. Box 2176, Van Nuys, CA 91404.