Rose Leaf Ragtime Club July Meeting (7/31/2005)
After last month's barnburner featuring the inimitable pianistic exploits of Tom Brier, we settled down for a somewhat more leisurely stroll through the ragtime repertoire as the month of July came to a close.
Gary Rametta initiated the proceedings with "Roberto Clemente," David Thomas Roberts' contemporary ragtime classic from 1979.
Bill Mitchell took over the keys with a James Scott classic rag, "Frog Legs." This was the first of many Scott compositions to be published by John Stark, who was a great promoter of his publications. That, and the merits of Scott's musical conception, made "Frog Legs" a big hit for Scott and Stark.
Bill remarked that these days, he gets more and more enjoyment from playing piano duets. He invited Nan Bostick up to join him on Joplin's "Original Rags" from 1899. Nan, whose great uncle Charles Daniels is listed as arranger on the sheet music, stated that Mr. Daniels didn't actually arrange the tune, but transcribed it as Joplin played and probably helped to convince his boss, Carl Hoffman, to publish it. Unique among Joplin's early ragtime compositions, "Original Rags" has five sections rather than four and is more episodic than thematic in terms of its development. Also, its melodies and rhythms teem with a genuine ragtime spirit that has a distinctively Southern feel as compared to the Midwestern Missouri sound prevalent in his succeeding works.
Bill finished off a great set with a request, Jelly Roll Morton's "The Pearls." As always, he imparted a true Jelly Roll-style swing and adeptly imparted Morton's highly original harmonic and melodic sense.
Stan Long stepped up to perform next, starting with a tune he heard played at a previous Sutter Creek ragtime festival, "Sunday Evening at the Foxes," written by Pat Aranda (who'll be our special guest this month). Next was another Sutter Creek-inspired rag, "Goldenrod Rag," by contemporary composer Gil Lieby. Stan said he learned this one from Gil's CD. As a finish to his set, Stan played his own "My Ditty," a ragged-time patchwork of Beethoven's Für Elise, Disney's "It's a Small World," a television commercial "Go See Cal," and another tune or two.
Ron Ross took over the keys with three originals, starting with "Sunday Serendipity," a nice ode to the Rose Leaf Club. Next was "Cloudy," a pretty waltz written this year. He finished up with a request, his ever-popular "Studio Sensation" from 1981.
Phil Cannon treated us to some Arthur Marshall rags: "Kinklets" and "The Pippin" with Gary Rametta and Yuko Shimazaki, respectively, providing piano accompaniment.
Nancy Kleier had crafted a humorous theme for her three-rag set: "It's 1910, and our female subject wanted a new frock. She went shopping with her father. The first thing she wanted to buy was something scandalous." This led to a rendition of Edwin Kendall's 1912 "That Scandalous Rag." Of course, her father had a fit, and suggested something totally different. Thus was the cue for "A Totally Different Rag," written by May Aufderheide in 1910. Apparently, that selection didn't work out for the daughter because the next day everyone saw her wearing a "Muslin Rag," as in the one-step from 1918 by Mel Kaufman.
Nan Bostick reminded us of the upcoming Sutter Creek ragtime festival, at which she and a number of other Rose Leaf Club members will perform. In honor of the festival, she played "Sutter Creek Rag," the first of nine rags Gil Lieby composed for the festival. Next was a great duet with Nancy Kleier, Julia Niebergal's "Hoosier Rag." Nan also provided some great background info on Ms. Niebergal; she was the first woman in Indianapolis, IN to drive an automobile, and she supported herself through her live performances of ragtime music.
To finish off her set, Nan played a lively foxtrot from 1914, "Pretty Wild Thing" written in the heyday of the animal dance craze by her great uncle, Charles N. Daniels.
Les Soper, our next performer, brought his pianistic talents to bear on the classic Marshall/Joplin rag, "Swipesy Cakewalk," then Luckey Roberts' "Junkman Rag" from 1913. He finished off with his usual breathtaking rendition of Glenn Jenks' startlingly beautiful "Elegiac Rag."
The mood in the IHOP banquet room thoroughly contemplative following Les' final selection, it was just as quickly made extroverted and snappy by Frank Sano and Bill Mitchell's duet performances of a series of early jazz, tin-pan alley and ragtime era songs. First was Clarence Williams' "Cakewalking Babies From Home," the James P. Johnson's "Charleston." The syncopatin' duo keep toes a-tappin' with "I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me," the Gaskill/McHugh tune written in the 1920s but re-popularized during World War II. They finished off with the jazz siren song standard, "Melancholy."
Fred Hoeptner, club treasurer and award-winning ragtime composer, played two of his originals. First was "Ragging Through Town," a three-section piece whose B and C sections feature a series of modulations, moving through a variety of scales and modes. Next was "Dalliance, a Ragtime Frolic," grand-prize winner in the 2000 composition contest for the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri.
More great duets ensued: Les and Bill played washboard and piano, respectively, on "Ballin' the Jack." Nancy and Nan joined Les on "Silver Heels," an Indian intermezzo by Charles N. Daniels (as Neil Moret) from 1905. Nan and Les then duetted on Nan's first rag, "Bean Whistle," from the 1970s.
Phil played lead on two more duets, first with Bill on a nice rendition of Charles L. Johnson's 1909 popular rag, "Porcupine Rag." He followed up with the Emerson/Howard classic from 1899, "Hello My Baby," accompanied by Frank on piano.
Stan added another Indian-oriented piece to the occasion, Charles Daniels' "Indian Summer" from 1908-1909. To close out the afternoon, Nan and Stan duetted on Daniels' first big hit, "Margery."
Bill Coleman brought the meeting to a close and laid out some nice drive-time music with a leisurely piano medley of ragtime-era tunes, jazz and popular standards.
We look forward to seeing you on August 28th at 2:30PM. Our special guest performer will be Pat Aranda!
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