Something Doing

Ragtime Happenings in the Southland

JUNE, 2002


Rose Leaf Ragtime Club May Meeting (5/26/2002)

Reported by Gary Rametta

On a rather quiet but pleasant spring afternoon, about 42 members gathered to offer their kind support of the players and our organization in general. A number of our regular performers were out of town in Sacramento at the Jazz Festival.

Young Andrew Barrett started things off with Paul Pratt's "Springtime Rag," followed by George L. Cobb's "Cracked Ice Rag." A young teenager whose father is a professional jazz musician, Andrew is well-versed in the ragtime genre, playing with confidence, poise and technique.

Gary strode to the keys next, treating listeners to a trio set of Scott Joplin. The solos included "Scott Joplin's New Rag," "Sugar Cane" and "Gladiolus Rag," three of Joplin's best.

Next was Yuko Shimazaki, who made the piano sing on Joplin's Latin-flavored "Solace." She continued with another exquisite Joplin number, this time his early classic, "The Cascades."

Phil Cannon contributed next with two solo pieces on his guitar-banjo. Phil chose Joplin's classy "Rose Leaf Rag," (our club's theme song), and James Scott's beautiful "Ragtime Betty."

Ruby Fradkin followed, serving up a nice treat with the Joplin/Marshall staple, "Swipesy Cakewalk." She added a bit of a swing feel to it, while the bass notes sketched out a melody line. Next, she played her old standby, "Baby Face," featuring a blues-styled approach and extensive improvisation.

Gwen Girvins on accordion and piano, and Phil Cannon combined on a patriotic set, featuring numbers such as "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "You're a Grand Old Flag," "God Bless America," and "Stars and Stripes Forever." The duet then took us to our halftime break with "Darktown Strutter's Ball."

As the break drew to a close, Bill Coleman was at the keyboard, laying down a nice rendition of Joplin's "The Entertainer."

After an announcement or two and our raffle, Stan Long opened the second half of the show with Joseph Lamb's great "Bohemia," followed by "Maple Leaf Rag."

Andrew Barrett was invited back up to perform. He chose James Scott's challenging "Pegasus" rag from 1920, followed by "Angel Food," written by Al Marzian (a.k.a. Mark Janza).

Gary Rametta returned for a trio of ragtime-related tunes, including Duke Ellington's introspective "Reflections in D," Jelly Roll Morton's seminal "Original Jelly Roll Blues," and Willie the Lion Smith's "Rippling Waters."

Bill Mitchell, having only a few minutes earlier arrived from a Sunday gig, was all warmed up for us. He dove right into Charles Johnson's "Snookums," then opened up the Joplin playbook with "Euphonic Sounds." For a bravura finale, and in preparation for his upcoming steamboat vacation trip with wife Yvonne, he gave Frank French's "Belle of Louisville" a terrific workout.

Fred Hoeptner then performed one of his solo compositions, "Idyll of Autumn," a major work of contemporary ragtime.

Next, Yuko Shimazaki returned for some more timeless Joplin, this time his aptly-named "Nonpareil," followed by his last self-published work, the multi-dimensional and autobiographic "Magnetic Rag."

Alan Breimer, accompanied by Bill Mitchell, performed vocal renditions of "Hello Ma Baby" and "April Showers."

Next, Ruby Fradkin and Stan Long combined on a delightful duet of the favorite,"Zippity Doo Dah!," from Walt Disney's 1946 film "The Song of the South."

To close out the show, we had Bill Mitchell join Ruby for an extended duet version of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues," which featured some exciting improvisation and accompaniment.

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