The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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white pianists drifted from town to town playing embryonic ragtime. All were close to folk music sources and formed a virtual folk academy as they met at Tom Turpin s Rosebud Cafe in St. Louis, at the Frenchman's in New Orleans, at Johnny Seymour s Bar in Chicago, at the Maple Leaf Club in SedaHa, and in Louisville, Nashville, Little Rock, Indianapolis, El Remo and the Oklahoma Territory, "and only the sporting world and husbands secretly out for a fling were there to hear the music/'8
Soon after the turn of the century ragtime became known to a wider public and even reached the stage at which a ragtime opera was presented-Scott Joplin's A Guest Of Honor, seen in St. Louis in 1903. Joplin moved to New York in 1907; Tree-monisha, another opera, was produced at his own expense for a single performance in Harlem in 1911. The ragtime piano vogue lasted well into World War I and continued for a while after Joplin's death in 1917. Some of the men who played it had the misfortune never to come within reach of either a player piano roll or a phonograph, but diligent research by Rill Grauer and Orrin Keepnews enabled them to present, in recent years, a series of records dubbed from piano rolls made by Joplin, Tom Scott, Joseph Lamb and Tom Turpin. Because of the limitations of the piano roll in recreating the subtleties of dynamics that may have been an important part of the original performances, these re­cordings give an incomplete though absorbing idea of the work of these ragtime pioneers. They are still obtainable on LPs on the Riverside label.
How far ragtime overlapped into jazz is another debated point. Dave Dexter, in Jazz Cavalcade, avowed flatly: "Jazz is not rag­time; ragtime is not jazz." But Grossman and Farrell, in The Heart Of Jazz, state: "As jazz developed alongside ragtime, a very large measure of this music [ragtime] seeped into what is believed the younger form, being particularly noticeable in the piano styles of many band players- All the work of the Original Dixie­land Jazz Band shows a marked ragtime influence." According to Frederic Ramsey, Jr., "Ragtime has touched jazz all along the way of its development, and more than a mere echo of ragtime is to be found in many exhilarating jazz performances/'
Whether the two forms overlapped slightly, extensively or