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New England Ragtime Ensemble: Art of the Rag

Gunther Schuller , Scott Joplin , Scott Hayden , Arthur Marshall , Louis Chauvin , James Reese Europe , Eubie Blake , Jelly Roll Morton , Robert Carriker , Kenneth Laufer , Stefan Kozinki , William Albright , Zez Confrey , Charlie Luke , Joseph Lamb Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Stefan Kozinki, William Albright, Zez Confrey, Charlie Luke, Joseph Lamb
  • Composer: Scott Joplin, Scott Hayden, Arthur Marshall, Louis Chauvin, James Reese Europe, et al.
  • Audio CD (April 16, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: G.M. Recordings
  • ASIN: B000005VYY
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,435 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sun Flower Slow Drag
2. Maple Leaf Rag
3. Swipesy Cake - Walk
4. Heliotrope Bouquet
5. Castle Walk
6. Charleston Rag
7. Black Bottom Stomp
8. Mattapan Rag
9. 12-Note Row Rag
10. Sandpoint Rag
11. Maloney Rag
12. Sleight Of Hand Rag
13. Dizzy Fingers
14. Smokehouse Blues
15. Grandpa's Spells
16. Birdbrain Rag
17. Castle House Rag

Editorial Reviews

Gunther Schuller's distinguished career has included a crucial role in the third-stream movement, which sought to fuse jazz and classical composition and flourished in the late 1950s and early '60s. Schuller also wrote a series of brilliant musicological studies of early jazz. As musical director of the New England Ragtime Ensemble, he has brought very high standards to performance of classic ragtime compositions, beginning with the 1973 recording The Art of Scott Joplin, devoted to the form's most famous composer. The Art of the Rag, recorded in 1989, takes a different tack, mixing pieces of classic ragtime from the beginning of the 20th century with contemporary compositions that work within the form's structural and rhythmic patterns. Whether the work is ancient or modern, the Ensemble brings high precision, genuine vigor, and a fresh luster to the material. Among the fascinating period pieces are relatively well-known works by Joplin, including "Heliotrope Bouquet," and by Jelly Roll Morton, whose "Black Bottom Stomp" and "Grandpa's Spells" seem to travel back in time from their jazz origins. Less well-known but equally deserving of attention are James Reese Europe's "Castle Walk" and "Castle House Rag." Among the modern works, Schuller's own "Sandpoint Rag" and Robert Carriker's "Mattapan Rag" sit most comfortably in the form. --Stuart Broomer

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic September 19, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
once again gunther schuller brings us the beautiful sound of orchestrated ragtime. but instead of focusing on Scott Joplin, he mixes in modern day rags. Mattapan Rag, composed by the tubist, shows how ragtime can be effective outside of the typical ABACD format established in early rags. a great suprise is the Smokehouse Blues. while not a "rag" it does use the ompah base and syncopated treble and therefore is very welcome. it also shows how southern ragtime is much dofferent from midwestern.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful toe-tapper July 10, 1999
Format:Audio CD
I first heard the New England Ragtime Ensemble on PBS many years ago, and the wonderful sounds from these talented musicians has stuck in my head ever since. The 17 tracks on this album are generally quite up-tempo, though the "slower" songs certainly wouldn't qualify as ballad (and hence would not be ragtime).
I was surprised to find any ragtime collection that does not include Joplin's "The Entertainer", but they have clearly not been wanting for good material to fill a CD -- every one is a winner. My favorites are Rob Carriker's "Matapan Rag" and a delightful (non-piano!) arrangement of "Dizzy Fingers".
Any fan of ragtime will love this album. I did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not even close to the level of THE RED BACK BOOK June 25, 2014
Format:Audio CD
I too was disappointed by this album. The sound is raw and the arrangements have a relentless quality to them, which focuses on the syncopations, but sacrifices much of the music's wit, lyricism and grace. Hard to believe this is the same ensemble who gave us the iconic RED BACK BOOK on EMI.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Needs a reissue. August 14, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A thrilling account of rags up to our times that needs urgently a reissue! Mr Schuller's work for this and other forms of purely american music cannot be overestimated.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quite a Disappointment December 29, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I love ragtime, but I don't love this CD. If you like the sound of a very loud snare drum dominating many of the tracks, then you'll like it. Before you buy it, try to borrow it from your local library to make sure it's for you. I wish I had. Let the buyer beware!
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