S O M E T H I N G D O I N G
RAGTIME HAPPENINGS IN THE SOUTHLAND
NOVEMBER 1999 NUMBER 44
We will be back at the IHOP Restaurant (3521 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena) for the monthly Rose Leaf Club meeting on Sunday, November 28. We were told that the remodeling either would be finished by the middle of November or postponed until after the holidays. The regular musical meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. and conclude at 5:30 p.m. An organizational meeting for those interested in attending will begin at 1:00 p.m. preceding the regular meeting.
Thanks to a generous donation, this issue of Something Doing is in large part sponsored by Carole and Robbie Rhodes.
We have been informed of the passing in late October of Anna Marie Zimmerman, mother of Richard Zimmerman, leading ragtime exponent and founder of the Maple Leaf Club. Ms. Zimmerman was 89, and resided in Grass Valley, California, at the time of her death. She was active in the Maple Leaf Club for many years, attending the meetings and keeping the records and files updated.
-Bill Mitchell, editor Tel. (714) 528-1534 Internet
ROSE LEAF AT HOLLY STREET (10/31/99)
Because of remodeling plans at the Pasadena IHOP, the Rose Leaf Club met at the Holly Street Bar and Grill in Old Pasadena for its monthly meeting, which happened to fall on Halloween. As will be seen, some members took advantage of this coincidence in their programming.
Our emcee for the afternoon was Gary Rametta, who did a fine job of scheduling and announcing the players, and keeping things moving smoothly. There were no duets last month, since there was only one piano--a fine baby grand-positioned near the entrance to the dining area.
Eric Marchese opened with the club's theme song, "Rose Leaf Rag," and then eased into the Halloween bit with a composition of his own, "An Autumn Memory," celebrating the season as recollected from his New England childhood. He followed this with Chas. L. Johnson's "Crazy Bone Rag," which is in part a variation on "Dill Pickles." He concluded his set with "Sleepy Hollow Rag," a laid-back, meditative little study by Clarence Woods.
It was good to see Sally Pelkie back after a busy summer at Laguna's Art-A-Fair. Sally honored the memory of RLC founder P. J. Schmidt by playing two of his pieces: "Matilda's Waltz," and "French Vanilla." She followed with "Exhilaration Rag," by club member George McClellan.
Fred Hoeptner performed a composition of his own, "Dalliance," and Ford Dabney's "Georgia Grind."
A newcomer to the club, nine-year-old Miss Ruby Fradkin, played a set of folk tunes and standards, including "When You're Smiling," "Old Zip Coon," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," "When the Saints Go Marching In," and Jenny Jenkins." This young lady delighted the audience with her cleanly played, peppy performances. We hope she returns soon.
Bob Pinsker, a visitor from San Diego, played three numbers by James P. Johnson: "Fascination" (not to be confused with the waltz of the same name), "Eccentricity" (which is a syncopated waltz), and "After Hours."
Nancy Kleier's Halloween choices were "Black Cat Rag" (Wooster and Smith), "Some Pumpkins" (Ed Kuhn), and "Funny Bones" (C. L. Woolsey).
After a fifteen-minute intermission, Gary Rametta played "Scott Joplin's New Rag," and announced the arrival of the barbershop quartet, "The Chairmen of the Board." They entertained us with some close harmony on "The Star Spangled Banner," "Have You Ever Had a Friend?," "Irish Lullaby," "Hard Hearted Hannah," "With a Shine on Your Shoes," and "Steppin' Out with My Honey." Their act included amusing patter between numbers.
Gary completed his interrupted set with the difficult and haunting (pun obvious) "Graceful Ghost," by William Balcom, and "American Beauty," by Joseph F. Lamb.
Bill Mitchell played Joplin's "The Cascades," Jelly Roll Morton's "The Pearls," James Scott's "Frog Legs Rag," and his own concoction, "Musty Rag."
Ron Ross concluded the meeting with three of his originals: "Retro Rag," "Ragtime Song," and one of his latest, "Rickety Rag."
The meeting was well attended, and we thank the Holly Street Bar and Grill for their cooperation in hosting our club and providing good food and prompt service.
ROSE LEAF RAGTIME CLUB ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING (SUNDAY, 10/31/99)
By Ron Ross
Time: 1:00 - 2:30 PM
Place: Holly Street Bar & Grill - Pasadena
Attendees: Ron Ross, Darrell & Norma Woodruff, Bill & Yvonne Mitchell, Lee Roan, Fred Hoeptner, Becky Todd, Nancy Kleier, Bob Kirby, Charlie Carpenter, Sally Pelkie, Roy Shelso, Bill Mintz, Ara & Ellen Avak, Eric Marchese, Bob Pinsker
1. Fred investigated piano tuners for best price, including possible exchange for advertising the tuner in Something Doing and with business cards at the meetings. Going rate seems to be $70. Nothing will be done on this until IHOP finishes remodeling, since pianos will probably have to be moved during that time. Lee noted that the piano tuner should "set the pins" to prevent the pianos from easily going out of tune.
2. Darrell investigated non-profit status and obtained a book on the subject, which he gave to Nancy. Nancy offered it for anyone interested in reading it. The general consensus is to keep the club an informal group.
3. Fred Hoeptner agreed to open a bank account to keep the club's funds and write checks as needed. It was decided we would have at least two, and preferably three signatories on the account, any one of whom will be allowed to sign a check for club expenses, after conferring with at least one of the other signatories. Darrell and Ron volunteered to be the additional signatories.
The Club has about $1500 in cash in Becky's care, which she will convey to Fred.
4. It was decided the Suggested Donation would now be $2; performers free. If someone wanted to attend and not donate, that would be fine.
5. Raffle tickets will now cost $1 each or 3 for $2. No free ones will be given out. CD's, LP's and 4-month subscriptions to The American Rag will be raffled.
6. Ron read a letter from the Sacramento Ragtime Society explaining their modus operandi, which is quite informal and has been for 17 years. However, for the West Coast Ragtime Society, a non-profit corporation is maintained, as performers and venues won't normally contract with an informal organization.
7. Eric Marchese suggested we begin meetings at 1:30 and go till 4:30. No final decision was made on this proposal, so the next meeting will be at 2:30, with the organizational meeting again beginning at 1 PM.
8. Lee Roan will buy a portable microphone and speakers. Fred will reimburse him from club funds. Lee will bring in catalogs of amps and mikes and we will discuss the various options at the next organizational meeting.
9. Nancy mentioned that the West Coast Ragtime Festival's program of events is now on their website
http:www.ragtimemusic.com/WCRS/ She circulated a copy of the schedule.
Meeting was adjourned at 2:20 PM.
After the Holly Street event, the consensus was to have the next meeting back at the IHOP. Generally, it was felt that the Holly Street was not conducive to group camaraderie; the food was too expensive, and the situating of the piano where only a few could see the performer was not the ideal scene. We felt the restaurant worked as a backup, particularly because of the air conditioning on the hot day. We appreciated the microphone. Also, the manager, Alexis, was happy to have us, liked the music, and would welcome us again. She promised to print up a special, moderately-priced menu insert, as an addition to the regular menu if we come back. (Salads and burgers in the $7.50-$8.50 range.)
Next organizational meeting--Nov.28, 1 PM, just before the regular monthly meeting, at the IHOP in Pasadena.
FRANK FRENCH IN CONCERT
The Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo presented the Boulder, Colorado-based pianist Frank French on Sunday evening, October 31. In his solo concert, French devoted the first half to the works of the New Orleans-born composer, Louis More Gottschalk (1829-1869), and the Brazilian composer, Ernest Nazareth (1863-1934), a prolific writer of tangos.
French opened the program with "Souvenir de Port Rico," a haunting, intense, and dramatic piece by Gottschalk. This was followed by "Pasquinade," published in 1869. These two numbers are among the composer's most memorable.
Among several Nazareth tangos that French played were such titles as "Batuque," "Fon! Fon!" and another piece whose Brazilian title I did not catch, but which translated to "Falling Down Drunk."
French then played one of his own compositions, "Womba Bomba" (1946), inspired by a trip to Cuba, but possible also by the above-mentioned composers.
The last number before intermission was "Operatic Fantasy," and arrangement by Gottschalk of "The Miserere" from Il Trovatore. French reminded us that Jelly Roll Morton also created a transformation of "The Miserere" on his extensive Library of Congress recordings of 1938.
At this point Bill Coffman, proprietor of OTMH, announced that "The pharmacy will be open" during intermission for refreshments. Most of the audience gathered outside near the "pharmacy" for coffee, refreshments and socializing..
Opening the second half of the program, French announced that he would be playing some of the music of his contemporaries, opening with "Bon Bon," by Hal Isbitz of Santa Barbara. Hal has shown a fondness for Latin-American music in his compositions, such as this one.
"Memories of a Missouri Confederate" was composed by David Thomas Roberts in 1992. French brought out the tenderness and pathos of this piece, one of Roberts' very best.
Colorado's Jack Rummel wrote "From Lone Jack to Knob Noster," a rollicking piece celebrating a stretch of highway between two communities on the trip from Kansas City to Sedallia, Missouri. French pointed out that this piece is a mixture of several musical styles, including ragtime, blues, country, and gospel.
No Frank French concert would be complete without his own popular rag, "Belle of Louisville," written in 1990, and the composer obliged us by playing it. This exciting romp is much played these days, and is a favorite of your reviewer/editor, who frequently attempts it.
Frank had promised to include Jelly Roll Morton in his program, and accordingly wound up with "The Naked Dance," "The Crave," "Mr. Joe," and a recap of JRM's demonstration of "Tiger Rag's" genesis from quadrilles, waltzes, and what-have-you.
After hearty and lengthy applause, French returned to encore with Joe Lamb's "Ragtime Nightingale." Several bars into the piece he abruptly stopped, got up, saying "I forgot to raise the lid," and adjusted the lid of the Bosendorfer to a higher elevation. When he resumed, he was joined by Bill Coffman on the Mighty Wurlitzer to continue the rag, complete with a bizarre Wurlitzerian bird whistle.
The duo brought the evening to a close with "Heliotrope Bouquet" and "Kismet Rag," Joplin collaborations with Louis Chauvin and Scott Hayden, respectively.
The concert featured top-drawer pianism by an artist of prodigious technique and depth of feeling. His extensive knowledge of music provided enlightening commentary between numbers.
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Rose Leaf Club. IHOP Restaurant, 3521 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA.
(Organizational meeting 1:00-2:30 p.m., same location, for those interested.)
Sunday, Nov. 28, 7:00 p.m., Dean Mora's Solo Evening, with piano jazz, classics, Gershwin preludes, etc. Old Town Music Hall, 140 Richmond Street, El Segundo CA 90245. Tel 1-310-322-2592 Internet: email@example.com Web Site: http://www.nswest.com/organ/oltmhI.html
Sun., Dec. 5, 7:00 p.m., Final 1999 Concert featuring Jeanie - Bill & Bill. Pianist Jeanie Ingram will be featuring everything from folk, ragtime, Christmas and Holiday music in solo performances. Some organ and piano duets with Bill and Bill. Audience sing-along. Some great old goodies with all three instrumentalists joining in. Old Town Music Hall (see above entry for particulars).
MUSIC IS AN ART
Music is an art
Which affects the mind,
Reflecting in time.
It draws from a life's source,
Is created in composition form
And recreated each time played/performed.
Music nurtures the mind.
Music is a "living art" for all time.
--by Susan Erb