“Ragtime–a ragweed of music–has grown up everywhere in the Union,” wrote cello virtuoso Louis Blumenberg in 1900, “and its vicious influences are highly detrimental.” Indeed! No matter how hard the stewards of “proper” music tried to suppress it, that happy, lilting ragged-time phenomenon had set the toes of America, England and France a-tapping with classic ragtime piano solos like “Maple Leaf Rag” and parlor favorites like “I’m Living the Ragtime Life”.
In this evening’s concert Dick Hyman, Richard Zimmerman, Ian Whitcomb and company pay proper due to the classic piano ragtime of Scott Joplin, Thomas Turpin and James Scott; the less remembered (but far more common) ensemble sound of the ragtime orchestra; the turn-of-the-century harmonies of barbershop a cappella; and the wildly popular rag-influenced output of Tin Pan Alley. To cap it off, special guest artist Bob Greene will trace the life work of New Orleans ragtime master and self-proclaimed Inventor of Jazz, Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton.
Dick Hyman, jazz advisor