Roberts,Marcus ~ Joy Of Joplin
On this recording, the tradition-conscious pianist Marcus Roberts delivers a satisfying and surprisingly modern take on ragtime composer Scott Joplin
's music. Instead of performing like a human piano roll, Roberts--who has already recorded tributes to piano greats Duke Ellington
, Thelonious Monk
, and Jelly Roll Morton
--interweaves ragtime with a number of musical genres. With an agile right hand that never sacrifices form for the sake of fluff, and a strong left hand that emulates the low-frequency tuba-bass beats central to the ragtime style, Roberts brings out the best of Joplin's compositions, including the stride/boogie-woogie interpolations on "The Entertainer," the strolling rhythms of "Bethena's Waltz," and the habanera-Spanish tinges of "The Magnetic Rag." Roberts's own compositions in the ragtime idiom reveal his rare gift for emulation and innovation, as evidenced by his Chopinesque and impressionistic "Hidden Hues"; the cascading,Teddy Wilson-ish runs on "Play What's Written"; the supersonic, swinging pace of "From Rags to Rhythm"; and the stop-and-start melody of "After the Party Is Over." --Eugene Holley Jr.