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SOMETHING DOING

September 2001
Number 65


ROSE LEAF RAGTIME CLUB AUGUST MEETING (8/26/2001)
Reported by Gary Rametta

Greetings. We are all shocked and saddened by the horrifying events of September 11 in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. Our thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of innocent victims of these atrocities, including those who sacrificed their lives while rescuing others, and all the families and loved ones who are left in a grieving void.

Our upcoming meeting will still be held on September 30th, but in addition to memorializing our founder, Phil Schmidt, who passed away two years ago this September, we will also remember those who lost their lives in the September 11th terrorist attack.

As our president stated, we citizens are compelled to stand together with firm resolve to cherish, protect and realize the ideals that make us a great people and a great nation. In this regard, it is my opinion that ragtime music is distinctly American—as much as or more than any other form of artistic expression. Ragtime music embodies the qualities and ideals of our country and our people. And our club’s continuing celebration of it serves to reaffirm and strengthen those qualities and ideals.
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The August meeting marked the sixth anniversary of the Rose Leaf Ragtime Club and, once again, drew a full house.

Yuko Shimazaki (piano) and Phil Cannon (guitar/banjo) started off the birthday celebration with Scott Joplin’s “Rose Leaf Rag.”

Bill Mitchell followed, taking up the Joplin cue with “Stoptime Rag,” one of the only rags in which the composer indicated the tempo as “fast or slow.” Bill continued with two pieces by New Yorker Ford Dabney, “Porto Rico” and “Haytian Rag.”

Nancy Kleier sat down to perform Dick Zimmerman’s “Lost and Found Rag,” followed by Artie Matthew’s “Pastime Rag No. 5” and Gil Lieby’s “Anathema Blues.”

Next was Ruby Fradkin, who played Joplin’s “The Cascades,” then “Tom Dooley.”

Bob Pinsker followed, revisiting Joplin with the seldom-heard “Searchlight Rag.” Next was “Phantom Fingers,” a 1934 novelty piece by British composer Jack Wilson. Bob’s final selection was of historical interest—he explained that a photo long believed to be of Scott Joplin’s piano also showed a leaf of sheet of music on the console. Though the photo’s been around for a long time, no one thought to transcribe the notated music. A couple of years ago, Reginald Robinson of Chicago did the honors. It’s about four or five bars of a genuine Joplin composition. Bob played the abbreviated work for us.

Following Bob was the duo of George McClellan and Lee Roan, who combined on two popular duets from the Golden Age, “Whispering” and “Ida.”

Ron Ross performed next, first leading us in a sing-along of the ode he wrote in honor of our club, “The Rose Leaf Way.” Next he played his delightful “Sunday Serendipity,” another rag written with a tip of the cap to the Rose Leaf Ragtime Club.

Guitarist/Banjoist Phil Cannon strapped his axe on and came up to the mike to give us amazingly played renditions of two Joseph Lamb classics, “Top Liner Rag” and “Contentment Rag.”

Gary Rametta took us to the break with some more great Joseph Lamb, “Ragtime Reverie.”

After everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and treated their sweet tooth with cake, Bob Ross soloed on two originals, first “Slow and Easy,” which he said came to him after listening to Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo,” then an unnamed rag with a working title of “I Hope I Make It.” With its unexpected turnarounds and two or three false endings, the piece should’ve perhaps been entitled “Deceptive Rag.”

Ruby Fradkin returned for a second set with the Joplin/Marshall favorite “Swipesy Cakewalk,” then the popular hit from way back when, “Babyface.”

Stan Long next sat at the keys, giving us the Charles L. Johnson classic “Dill Pickles” as well as George Cobb’s “Russian Rag,” a ragged reinvention of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C Sharp Minor.”

Following Stan was Yuko Shimazaki, this time soloing on a delicate, singing version of Joplin’s great “Nonpareil” rag.

Next up was newcomer Craig Reisler, an excellent pianist who’s an enthusiast of the stride, jazz and popular standards genres. Craig played an original composition he wrote on spec for a theatre musical. It boasted a sophisticated harmonic texture and definitely had the “show tune” feel down pat. His next selection was the Noel Gray classic “Me and My Girl.”

Brenda Brubaker made her second appearance at the Rose Leaf club, this time giving us an enjoyable rendition of Eubie Blake’s “Bugle Call Rag.”

Following Brenda was Les Soper, first playing the “Turtle Boogie,” which was recorded by Disneyland pianist Rod Miller and his prodigy on their “Four-Hands Piano” CD. Next, Les played Harlem stride pianist Luckey Robert’s “Junk Man Rag.”

As our sixth anniversary meeting hit the home stretch, we welcomed back pianists Bill Mitchell and Nancy Kleier, plus Les Soper on washboard and Phil Cannon on guitar/banjo, in a rollicking version of “Maple Leaf Rag.”

Bob Pinsker then returned to the keys with an outstanding solo effort on Jimmy Blythe’s “Jimmy Blues.”

Next, Gary Rametta and Bill Mitchell combined on two Jelly Roll Morton classics, “Original Jelly Roll Blues” and “Grandpa’s Spells,” with Bill comping on the first number and Gary on the second.

As the seats began emptying out, Bob Pinsker came back to flex his pianistic muscles on James P. Johnson’s “Carolina Shout.” A fine effort on an exceedingly difficult piece, and one I trust Bob will perform again, the next time to a full house.

We hope to see you this coming Sunday.



THIRD ANNUAL SUTTER CREEK RAGTIME FESTIVAL A SHTICK-FILLED SUCCESS
Reported by Nan Bostick

The Aug. 10 - 12 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival was an event filled with warm reunions, an extraordinary amount of good-time shtick and superbly performed ragtime, plus a few tears in remembrance of the late Pete Clute, for whom this year's festival was dedicated. Attendance doubled from the previous year, thanks in part to the number of Rose Leaf Club members and So. California fans who attended.

Bo Grumpus, Virginia Tichenor, Keith Taylor, and Tom Brier headlined the event along with Elliott Adams and the Porcupine Ragtime Ensemble, who performed for dancers at the Saturday afternoon tea dance and evening's Afterglow Ragtime Ball at Belloti's Restaurant and Inn. The dance venues, new to this Festival, were greatly enhanced by the marvelous dance instruction and demonstrations provided by Professor Richard Duree and his wife, Ruth Levin, dance ethnologists from Costa Mesa, CA. Relatively new to the Northern California Ragtime scene, they were highly appreciated by the dancing crowd and will certainly be seen more in the future. Other performers included Festival organizers Stevens Price, Nan Bostick, and "Ah Sweet Sue" Jan Price with her melodrama crew, Alan Ashby, visiting guest artist John Remmers of Ann Arbor, MI, and the "Carte Blanche" strolling barbershop quartet from Sacramento.

California Ragtime composers Galen Wilkes, of Van Nuys, Kathy Backus, of Santa Barbara, and Gil Lieby (now living in Omaha) arrived for the fun and were soon recruited to spell the performers and be honored at the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon concerts. Rose Leaf Club member Nancy Kleier was also commandeered from the moment she arrived and her fingers were kept flying over several keyboards much to everyone's delight. Throughout the Festival, artists performed at Belotti's, the Clothes Mine Courtyard, the Ice Cream Emporium, the Main Street Theater, and Susan's Place restaurant.

By popular demand, the "Dill Pickle Ranch" Ragtime Melodrama was performed twice on Saturday at the Main Street Theatre, currently under construction, but heroically revamped for the event by its new owner, Gary Schiemding. Generally seen covered in plaster, Gary was dressed to the vintage nines for the occasion. "Ah, Sweet Sue" Jan Price and her "born again" dead cat were again miraculously rescued from oncoming trains, bill collectors, landlords, and ragtime villains by her true love, who turned out to be her long lost brother. Undaunted, she headed for Stevens, the piano player, but eventually settled for the villain, who promised to shave off his mustache and be a good guy. In between the melodramas, Nan Bostick, with the assistance of Tom Brier, offered her new "Heap Big Tale of Political Incorrectness" seminar on the Indian songs inspired by the 100-year-old "Hiawatha" composed by her great uncle, Neil Moret. The shtick in this seminar was a mere hint of the set-up innocent "Tom-Tom" would experience the following afternoon.

Saturday evening's "Celebration of Ragtime" concert, traditionally opened by the late Pete Clute, began with a tribute to the Festival's much-missed friend. Appreciation goes to Marty Eggers, who filled in for Pete at the piano, opening the concert with a marvelous rendition of Artie Matthews's Pastime #4, one of Pete's signature songs. Marty then headed for the bass as Craig Ventresco and Pete Devine were introduced and the incredible Bo Grumpus trio filled the Sutter Creek Auditorium with their unique sound, receiving a standing ovation after each tune. Tom Brier, Virginia Tichenor, and Oregon's Keith Taylor were equally greeted for their stupendous performances. Keith wrapped it up by introducing Gil Lieby and playing his exhilarating version of Lieby's "Goldenrod," while Gil lead the audience in appropriate stop-rag claps. The Festival continued into the wee hours with the Afterglow Ball at Belotti's and jam sessions at the Sutter Creek Ice Cream Emporium.

Sunday morning, the Ice Cream Emporium was alive with ragtime music at 10 a.m. and filled with folks eating chocolate sundaes for breakfast. Meanwhile, Festival shtick artists, including El Cerrito's Pepper Rae, head of the Festival's sound crew, Orange County's Chip Lusby, her able advisor, "Granny Nanny" Bostick, plus "Ah, Sweet Sue" Jan and Stevens Price and crew were setting up three pianos in the Sutter Creek Auditorium and plotting against "Hot Rod" Tommy Brier for the grand finale afternoon concert.


Billed as "The Piano Duel of the Century - Granny Nanny vs. Hot Rod Tommy," the concert opened with "Granny Nanny" admitting her "duel" with the ingenious, 29-year-old composer/pianist from Merced would be no contest. Her real goal was to make "Hot Rod" Tommy miss one note during the concert. She failed, but the audience was on the floor during her attempts and poor, unsuspecting Tom deserves a huge "good sport" award for surviving: 1) the sound crew who entered with fire extinguishers to douse his piano and wrap it up with the yellow police tape usually reserved for crime scenes, 2) the mechanical hand the sound crew inserted under his piano lid, its moving fingers waving at the hysterical audience; 3) Stevens Price cooking a fried egg on Tom's piano and then siding with "Granny" at the third piano; 4) dueling with Elliott Adams, who also sided with "Granny," while she and two youngsters roasted hot dogs over the pianos; 5) "Ah, Sweet Sue" Jan Price in full regalia cavorting atop his piano and tickling him with her feathers; and 6) an arrest by an actual Sutter Creek policeman who hauled Tom off for speeding and noise abatement offenses. Though "Granny" was berated for her "scandalous" behavior by John Remmers, Professor of Ragtime from Ann Arbor, who sided with Tom and played against "Granny," this didn't stop her. She called upon her own "professor," Keith Taylor, who kept Tom busy while Nanny headed for a giant ice bag to place on Tom's piano.

Amazingly enough, Tom is still talking to Nan and in his words: "Oh, it was tough - especially with the femme fatale!!! -- but I think I managed to maintain my hot rodder reputation!" Rose Leaf Club members will have an opportunity to witness the incredible "hot rodder" perform at RagFest 2001 Oct. 6 - 7 at Steamers Cafe and Fullerton College. Contact 800-690-6684 for information or visit the web site at: http://www.ragfest.com.


RAGTIME RADIO

Sundays, 2:05-3:30 pm PT, “Syncopation Station”, KDHX St. Louis MO 88.l and www.kdhx.org; host, Jan Douglas.
Sundays, 4-6 pm PT, “Rags to Wishes”. KAZU, Pacific Grove CA 90.3 and www.kazu.org; host, Mike Schmitz.
Sundays, 8-10 pm PT, “The Ragtime Show”, KSBR Mission Viejo CA 88.5 and www.ksbr.net; host, Jeff Stone.
Mondays, 9-10 pm PT, “The Ragtime Machine”, KUSF San Francisco CA 90.3; host, David Reffkin. The KUSF stream is temporarily down because of the current dispute over licensing fees for Internet broadcasting.
Thursdays, 7-8 pm PT, “Ragtime America”, KGNU Boulder CO 88.5 and www.kgnu.org; host, Jack Rummel.


CONTINUING GIGS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Brad Kay Sunday afternoons, 2-4 p.m. at The Unurban, 3301 W. Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica. Coffee, etc. No cover charge

Jerry Rothschild Tues. and Wed., 4:30-7:00 p.m. at Gunter’s Place, 16258 Whittier Blvd., Whittier. (562) 947-3683
Fri. and Sat., 7-10 p.m. at Curley’s Restaurant, corner Willow & Cherry, Signal Hill.

.RagFest 2001 – Orange County’s second annual ragtime festival. Sat.-Sun., Oct. 6-7. Steamers Café and Fullerton College Recital Hall, Fullerton. Featuring Tex Wyndham, the Albany Nightboat Ragtimers, Patrick Aranda, Tom Brier, Brad Kay, Eric Marchese, Bill Mitchell, Bob Pinsker. Guest artists Yvonne Cloutier, Mitch Meador,Terence Alaric, Bill Protzmann, Randy Woltz, and more. $60 for the entire weekend, $15-$25 for indiviual events; tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis for individual performances. Phone (800) 690-6684 or access the website ragfest.com.

Dave McKelvey Harmonica Trio. Oct. 14, 7 p.m. Three ace soloists with surprise guests (including the popular young pianist Ruby Fradkin) in a program of pop, swing, country, jazz, light classics. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond St., El Segundo, Admission $20. Phone 310-322-2592. E-mail: oldtownmh@aol.com.

Ragtime Ruby (Fradkin) and friends at Kulak’s Woodshed, Oct. 21, 7:00 p.m. 5230 ½ Laurel Canyon Drive,
North Hollywood.

Lake Arrowhead Early Jazz Band, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. Early American dance music programmed by Dr. Koenig, formerly jazz musicologist for Louisiana State Jazz Museum. Old Town Music Hall (See above).

Sidewalk Strutters Dixieland Jazz Band, Nov. 4, 3:00 p.m. Old Town Music Hall (see above).

Kathy Craig – Bill Knopf, piano and banjo duo (Joplin, Sousa and Ellington), Nov. 11, 7:00 p.m. Old Town Music Hall (see above).

Fifteenth Annual West Coast Ragtime Festival, Nov. 16-18, Fri. thru Sun. Red Lion Hotel, 1401 Arden Way, Sacramento. Stellar lineup, more details in upcoming issues, but for more information now, call (916) 457-3324 or www.RagtimeMusic.com/wcrs/ or e-mail bubpetra@yah

Bob Milne, piano (ragtime, jazz, boogie-woogie, and novelty), Nov. 18, 7:00 p.m. Old Town Music Hall (see above).

Bill Mitchell, Editor (714) 528-1534 Fax (714) 223-3886 E-mail<jopscolam@home.com>