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Rags Blues & All That Jazz

An exploration of these three styles of American music tracing their emergence, development and interrelationships between 1890-1930. A recital that combines virtuosity and musicality in equal measure and which is held together by a compelling narrative.  

Three excerpts from this program:

1. “At a Georgia Campmeeting.”  An example of the first style of ragtime, called cakewalk, which became popular in the 1890s.  It is not as fully syncopated as regular ragtime, and shows many musical similarities to marches like Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes” which were popular at the same time.  This is my original arrangement.

2. “Memphis Blues.” One of the earliest blues, composed in 1909.  Like most early blues, this work is really a hybrid of what we would now recognize as blues, with ragtime.  In fact “Memphis Blues” is basically a slow rag, albeit one with bluesy features like the twelve-bar sequence and use of blue notes. 

3. “Kitten on the Keys.” From 1921, this is an example of early jazz on the piano.   You will hear an obvious influence of ragtime in the use of syncopation and the leaping left hand, but the work us imbued with an unmistakeable swing that marks it as jazz rather than ragtime. Again, my own, spontaneously created, arrangement.

Sample program (50 mins)

RAGS, BLUES, AND ALL THAT JAZZ

RAGS
At a Georgia Camp-Meeting (1899) – Kerry Mills (1869-1948)
Elite Syncopations (1902) – Scott Joplin (c. 1867-1917)
Dill Pickles Rag (1908) – Charles L. Johnson (1876-1950)

BLUES
Memphis Blues (1909) – W. C. Handy (1873-1958)
Negro Blues (1912) – Lee Roy White (1888-1949)
Pine Top’s Boogie-Woogie (1928) – Clarence “Pine Top” Smith (1904-1929)

JAZZ
Tiger Rag (1917) – The Original Dixieland Jazz Band
The Pearls (1923) – Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941)
Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1928) – Thomas “Fats” Waller (1904-1943)
Kitten on the Keys (1921) – Zez Confrey (1895-1971)