These are recordings of piano rolls originally created by Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton between 1916 & 1931.
Includes liner notes by Michael Montgomery.
Personnel: Mike Montgomery (sound effects).
Liner Note Author: Mike Montgomery.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (04/1916-??/1931); Cincinnati, OH (04/1916-??/1931); New York, NY (04/1916-??/1931); Orange, NJ (04/1916-??/1931).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Eubie Blake; Fats Waller; Jelly Roll Morton; Jimmy Blythe; Scott Joplin; Charles Clark.
The happy, rhythmically infectious music known as ragtime flourished internationally between the late 1890s and 1920. During the genre's most popular period, 1910-1920, patrons could drop a coin in a player piano and hear the latest by Eubie Blake and Jelly Roll Morton. While both ragtime and player pianos have passed from the scene, post-millennium listeners can return to that heady time by simply picking up a copy of The Greatest Ragtime of the Century. If the title sounds a bit ambitious, the inclusion of the above-mentioned names along with Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Jimmy Blythe assures that the disc lives up to its billing. Each of 16 selections once graced a player piano sometime between 1916 and 1931. Morton delivers a spunky take on "Sweet Man," his only recovered performance on a Capitol piano roll, while Waller cuts loose on a spry version of "Nobody But My Baby." Of course, no ragtime collection would be complete without Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," perhaps the best-known rag of its time, and Blake's "Charleston Rag." One thing that may surprise those only slightly familiar with this classic style is how evenly paced many of these piano pieces are. Ragtime, in fact, is often unhurried, and Joplin made a habit of writing on his music: "Ragtime should never be played fast." The Greatest Ragtime is an excellent collection and a fine introduction to a joyful music fashioned over 100 years ago. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.