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The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra: That Demon Rag

Album Notes

The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is one of the premiere bands in the esoteric but very accessible idiom of orchestrated ragtime (as opposed to solo pianists). Consisting of a string quartet, two clarinets, two cornets, one trombone, a flutist doubling on piccolo, a bassist and a versatile drummer, this ensemble is directed by its founder Rick Benjamin. Its third recording has quite a variety of mostly obscure music among its 19 pieces including Arthur Pryor's "A Cakewalk Contest," two of Scott Joplin's lesser-known rags, "Ragtime Travesty on 'Il Trovatore"' (which satirizes classical music), Eubie Blake's "Chevy Chase Foxtrot," the "Spirit of Independence" march and a couple of popular numbers. This pre-jazz music (which has no improvisation but plenty of syncopation) is colorfully performed and should greatly interest fans of early American music, jazz and ragtime alike. ~ Scott Yanow


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