Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The collection of classic and original rags offered by Gary Smart on this recording celebrates the lyrical side of this quintessentially American music. The ragtime genre is diverse, more so than the casual listener might think. There is the folk rag tradition, the brilliant, aggressive Eastern rag tradition, and the many interesting takes on ragtime composition that span the entire twentieth century from Artie Mathews to Charles Ives to William Albright and beyond. But Scott Joplin's classical musicality remains the source of Smart's inspiration. Joplin's marriage of a singing African-American rhythmic polyphony with the harmonic and textural structures of the European classical tradition is dazzling in its effectiveness and Mozartian in its elegance.
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