Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Two Great Performers At The West Coast Ragtime Festival
Hard to pick favorites among the performers at the recent West Coast Ragtime Festival, but here are a couple with whom I've become friends, and whose performances I especially enjoyed.
Jack Rummel lives in Niwot, CO, where he hosts the Ragtime America show on KGNU, Thursday evenings, 8-9 Mountain Time, http://www.kgnu.org/. He also writes the popular monthly Ragtime Music Reviews, http://www.ragtimers.org/reviews/. Jack writes and plays midwestern-style rags, and at the Festival, he presented two hour-long sets of his own compositions, displaying to full effect this complex ragtime form, which is simultaneously rollicking and nostalgic, even wistful.
Washboard Kitty Wilson is the percussionist in the Raspberry Jam Band, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNxWU6sHlAU&feature=related (whose pianist is the amazing Tom Brier, the man with two hands on each arm and twenty fingers on each hand). Here they are at the Festival, playing one of my favorite pieces, Scott Joplin's, "Cleopha." Historian/pianist Rosemary Hallum interviewed Kitty at the Festival, and it was very interesting to hear what she said and demonstrated to explain the way percussionists need to remember that their role is to enhance the performance of the pianist or the band, not drown them out. A lesson there for us all.