On February 26, 1917, while America simmered on the brink of war, the Victor Talking Machine Company recorded what would become the first "jazz" phonograph record, and nine days later released it to an unsuspecting public. The sounds on that wax disc - made by five young rebels from New Orleans calling themselves "The Original Dixieland 'Jass' Band" - heralded a concurrent revolution in MUSIC that took the country by storm and went on to captivate an entire planet. 100 years later, Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Jass Band - featuring Jeff Barnhart on piano - will take you back to that historic moment in time and delight your senses with those very same sounds that exalted a war-weary nation and propelled it into a wild, hypnotic, jazz-induced frenzy!
In 1987, Dan Levinson, then a senior at New York University, organized a five-piece band for a concert in New York City celebrating the 70th anniversary of recorded jazz. The phenomenal success of that event inspired a repeat performance across the continent in the Roof Garden of the famous Variety Arts Center in downtown Los Angeles, from which the band took its name. Since then, Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Jass Band has performed for jazz societies throughout the Northeast, as well as at the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival in Davenport, IA, the Tribute to Bix Festival in Racine, WI, the Orange County Classic Jazz Festival in Costa Mesa, CA, the Hot Steamed Jazz Festival in Essex, CT, and Dick Hyman’s Jazz in July Festival at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Jass Band is the only band in existence devoted exclusively to the neglected era in musical history when ragtime was transitioning into jazz, roughly 1917 to 1923. The esoteric term "rag-a-jazz" is sometimes used to describe this rich, captivating hybrid of ragtime and jazz, but, in truth, the music has no universally recognized name. Jazz music set the world on its ear when the first records appeared. Today - nearly a century later - "rag-a-jazz" maintains its infectious appeal.
The band's repertoire consists of note-for-note re-creations of early jazz recordings made by pioneering bands such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (the first band to make a record bearing the word "jazz" - or "jass," as it was known then), the Original Memphis Five, the Louisiana Five, the Frisco Jazz Band, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, the Georgians, and other bands active before King Oliver made his historic recordings in 1923.
The Roof Garden Jass Band’s debut CD, Salutes the ODJB and the Beginning of Recorded Jazz, was released in 1998 on the Loup-garous label, followed by Blue Roses of Far and Near (2000) and Echoes in the Wax (2003), both released on the Stomp Off label.
Visit Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Jass Band online at http://www.danlevinson.com/.
Brian Holland is an internationally renowned pianist, composer, recording artist, and entertainer who has enjoyed a music career spanning more than 35 years. After spending his formative years playing in pizza parlors and clubs throughout Indiana, Brian's career flourished when he discovered the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. In 1999, he won his third title and was retired as "undefeated". Brian has played with some of the hottest jazz bands in the US - Titan Hot Seven, Wally's Warehouse Waifs, the Holland Rhythm Company, and others - and has traveled all over the world performing his creative styles of jazz, ragtime, stride, boogie, and blues. Brian has sixteen recordings (solo and ensemble) to his credit, and garnered a Grammy nomination for his work with Bud Dresser on their album, "Ragtime-Goodtime-Jazz".
"Brian Holland has to be one of the fastest, cleanest players anywhere today. Every note, no matter how swift, is as sparkling clear as Waterford crystal. His touch is assured and he makes even the most complex passages sound easy." - Jack Rummel, prominent reviewer & performer
"Brian Holland's lightening-fast left hand bangs out a clean, steady rhythm while his right hand skitters up and down the keyboard rendering the melody in thick chords...watching the energy and dexterity is narcotic." - The New York Sun
Jeff Barnhart is an internationally renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, composer, educator and entertainer. Jeff began his professional career at age 14 playing and entertaining four nights a week in a restaurant in his home state of Connecticut. Here he began to learn the classic swing, jazz and ragtime repertoire of the early 20th century. The 21st century has found Jeff constantly appearing as a soloist and band pianist at parties, festivals, clubs and cruises throughout the world. In addition, he leads two bands in the UK: the Fryer-Barnhart International Jazz Band, which concentrates on hot music of the 1920’s, and Jeff Barnhart’s British Band, which performs small group swing of the 30’s. Due to his versatility, vast repertoire and vibrant energy, Jeff is in increasing demand as a participant in international jazz events as either a soloist or as pianist in All-Star Jazz ensembles. In addition to his widely acclaimed solo and band appearances, Jeff is enjoying great success performing with smaller groups, most notably Ivory&Gold®, a group he co-leads with his talented wife, flutist Anne Barnhart. Ivory&Gold® has become a mainstay at many jazz and ragtime festivals throughout the US and the UK.
Jeff enjoys playing dual piano and has done so with such jazz luminaries as Ralph Sutton, Neville Dickie, Louis Mazetier, John Sheridan and Brian Holland. In addition to his own label, Jazz Alive Records, Jeff plays piano and sings on the international labels GHB, Summit-World Jazz Records, Music Minus One, and the two largest jazz labels in the UK, Lake Records and P.E.K. Sound. In 2006, Jeff joined the roster of artists featured on the Arbors Records label, with 4 recordings currently available: the most recent featuring jazz legends Bob Wilber and Bucky Pizzarelli. Jeff has recorded as both pianist and vocalist on over 100 full-length albums. He averages 40 weeks a year on the road, bringing his music to all corners of the globe.
Paolo Alderighi received his degree in Piano from the G. Verdi Conservatory of Milan in 2000 and a degree in Economics for Arts, Culture, and Media from Bocconi University in 2005. He reached the second position in the “Top Jazz” referendum organized by the jazz magazine “Musica Jazz” as “Best New Talent” and first in the popular referendum “Italian Jazz Awards” as “Brand New Jazz Act.” He has also received a special prize from the Jury at the “National Prize of the Arts” organized by the Italian Ministry of University and Research in the Jazz category.
Pianist Mimi Blais from Montreal, Québec, Canada received several nicknames during her career: The female Victor Borge, The Céline Dion of the keyboard, The French Canadian Liberacette...but the one she's proud to wear since 1990 is: The New Queen Of Ragtime. After completing her classical training at the Quebec Conservatory of Music and McGill University in Montreal, Mimi left the beaten path to discover Music with a capital "M". Her career has been guided by passion and whim where classical, folk, jazz, modern, blues, tango, and ragtime all blend together. Mimi's passion for ragtime music has led her to travel across the United States and Canada, and it has even taken her to Belgium and Hungary where she received one standing ovation after another. As a musical performer, composer, arranger, writer, comedian and singer whose imagination knows no bounds, Mimi Blais is in high demand because of her tremendous talent and joyful personality.
Neville Dickie was born in County Durham, England on January 1st 1937. His early years in music were spent in the northern working mens' clubs. After his National Service in the RAF, Neville left Durham and moved to London. He spent many years working for little money in the pubs around the London area and his lucky break came when he was auditioned by the BBC and spotted by Doreen Davies, then head of Radio 2. Hundreds of broadcasts followed, both solo and with his Trio. In 1969 he recorded "The Robins Return" which became an immediate hit. Neville remains one of the few British Jazz pianists to have had a record in the Hit Parade.
Hailed by The New York Times as an especially impressive fine young pianist, RICHARD DOWLING appears regularly across the United States in solo recitals and concerts with orchestras. He has been acclaimed by audiences for his elegant and exciting style of playing which earns him frequent return engagements. An artist of rising international stature, Mr. Dowling has presented solo recitals in the Far East, Australia, Africa, and Europe, including six performance tours in France. In the United States he has received nationwide attention for recitals seen on the PBS television program Debut, and heard on the NPR radio program Performance Today. In New York, Mr. Dowling has performed in Central Park with orchestra, and in recitals at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, the 92nd Street Y, Steinway Hall, the Kosciuszko Foundation, Trinity Church, the Metropolitan Museum, the Metropolitan Club, the Brooklyn Conservatory, and Concordia College.
Always pursuing the unusual, Tracy has distinguished herself as the definitive expert in the life and times of Egbert Van Alstyne. Working as a reporter covering the town of Marengo, Illinois in 1991, she became interested in Van Alstyne when she read a historical article, "Marengo Has Its Own Composer," which gave little detail other than a few titles, including "In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree." Her interest in him was piqued when she began collecting original ragtime sheet music, records and piano rolls in 1993. In the ensuing years, she has collected more than 250 of his known 420 compositions, many articles from newspapers and trade journals, piano roll performances, recordings, and public documents about Van Alstyne and his family. Tracy first became involved in the ragtime community in 1995, when she attended the "Old Tyme Piano Playing Contest" in Decatur. She has been heaviliy involved in the ragtime scene ever since, presenting symposia at the Evergreen Ragtime Bash, the Ragtime Festival at Muscatine, Iowa, the McHenry County Historical Society.
Well known on the West Coast as a veritable "encylclopedia of ragtime and early jazz repetoire," Marty Eggers has played with numerous San Francisco Bay Area jazz and ragtime groups. He is a skilled composer and arranger of ragtime and traditional jazz and appears often with his wife, Virginia Tichenor, and her father, ragtime great Trebor Tichenor, in the Tichenor Family Trio.
For over four decades, Jim Hession has been one of the leading American pianists to feature the solo styles of early jazz: ragtime, stride, Harlem shout, boogie woogie, and swing. His early classical training was with concert pianist/composer Oscar Rasbach, himself a student of Theodor Lestichitsky and a touring second pianist to Sergei Rachmaninoff. As a teenager, Hession moved from studying classical music to exploring jazz styles (ragtime and New Orleans jazz) on his own. He was a founding member of Los Angeles' Maple Leaf Ragtime Club in 1967 and, while working as a full-time musician, attended UCLA's School of Music, where he received a degree in composition. Hession began a long association with The Walt Disney Company after college, beginning as a soloist and a duo with his wife, Martha. The Hessions were the first musicians hired to perform at Walt Disney World.
Frederick Hodges has been hailed by the press as one of the best ragtime pianists in the world, and is sought after by today’s foremost orchestras, festivals, conductors and collaborative musicians. His artistry, virtuosity and charisma have brought him to the world’s most renowned stages, leaving audiences around the globe captivated. Classically trained as a concert pianist, Hodges has established a reputation as a truly versatile artist equally sought after as soloist, singer, guest soloist with the California Pops Orchestra, dance band pianist and silent film accompanist.
Musician songwriter Tom Hook began his career in Kansas City Missouri, performing in local and regional jazz and rock bands, as well as working as a stage performer at Worlds of Fun theme park. He was a founding member of the New Red Onion Jazz Babies, a regional “trad” jazz favorite, and Black Dog Jazz Band, an association that has led him over the years to appearances at most of the major Traditional Jazz festivals in the US, as well as multiple tours of Western Europe. He has had a long association with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company and Walt Disney World. When not on tour, Tom performs nightly in New Orleans and on board the American Queen and Queen of the Mississippi Riverboats with his own New Orleans All-Stars and with his own one-man stage production of the musical drama “Riverman!”.
Ivory&Gold® (Jeff & Anne Barnhart)http://www.ivoryandgold.net
Praised by The L.A. Jazz Scene as a musical duo that can "draw out the beauty in the rich melodies and play the music...with taste, sensitivity, and a real affection for the idiom," Ivory&Gold® celebrates the greatest examples of American jazz, blues, ragtime, Broadway and hits from the Great American Songbook. Internationally renowned American musical performer and historian Max Morath calls Ivory&Gold® "musically flawless."
Ivory&Gold® has played to packed houses on 6 of the 7 continents in every imaginable scenario. This husband-and-wife team continues to thrill audiences with music, historical anecdotes and humor, enjoying a hectic schedule of concert, festival, and private home appearances scheduled into 2014. The Barnharts' versatility and rapport create an incomparable listening experience for all ages and in all settings, from an intimate 20 person gathering to a 2000 patron event.
A leading authority on and a well-known collector of books, recordings, piano rolls, periodicals, catalogues, and sheet music dealing in all areas of American popular music, David Jasen is a treasure – to the world of ragtime and to the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival. Jasen's extraordinary private collection has been prized alongside those of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and the City University of New York.
Sue Keller began her ragtime obsession in 1974, after graduating from DePauw University with a degree in music and theater. Since then, Keller has treated audiences to her piano and vocal performances throughout the world. Her appearances have ranged from the grand opening of Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston Harbor to the fabled Mikado nightclub in Tokyo, across the continent of Australia, and even to the Great Wall of China. Back in the USA, Keller has been recognized as one of the world's top ragtime pianists. Appearances have included the prestigious Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, Missouri; the Alexandria Bay Ragtime Jasstime Fest; Lake Superior Festival; the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival; the Indianapolis Classic Ragtime Festival; and Zehnder's in Frankenmuth. Keller has also been active in promoting the ragtime form, and her recording projects have employed a unique and exciting digital process.
Scott Kirby specializes in American and Pan-American musical traditions that span 150 years. From the inventive compositions of New Orleans genius Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Classic Ragtime, Cuban Danzas, Brazilian Tangos of Ernesto Nazareth and Creole styles from the Caribbean, to contemporary works by Kirby himself, the Pan-American umbrella is full of color and variety. Kirby weaves these styles together with historical and cultural background that shows the connections and cross-influences that have been occurring in the Western Hemisphere for hundreds of years, and have influenced not only American Popular Music, but also American Classical and Art Music composers.
Kirby has achieved a rarified status as a performer of ragtime and related American styles. Considered "Today's best player of Scott Joplin's music" (Trebor Tichenor, author of Rags and Ragtime), Kirby has appeared at every major ragtime festival in the U.S., plus events in Hungary, Norway, New Zealand, France, England and Belgium. His unique presentation highlights the worlds of Classic Ragtime, New Orleans Jazz, and Blues, then expands to include the marches of John Philip Sousa, the songs of Stephen Foster, Latin-American styles, Afro-Cuban rhythms, European Romanticism, Rock & Roll and Original works ranging from the syncopated to the impressionistic.
Carl Sonny Leylandhttp://www.carlsonnyleyland.com/
Carl Sonny Leyland discovered boogie woogie at age 15 and was inspired to go to the piano and begin on a path that would become his life's purpose. Whether solo or with his trio, the Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Leyland's playing displays an infectious spontaneity, providing plenty of surprises. While he possesses the necessary vocabulary to pay tribute to the greats of old, Leyland refuses to limit himself to this and prefers to let each performance be an opportunity to say something new.
Dr. Dave started playing the piano at age 6. His sister had been playing for some time and he found the piano irresistible, so, his parents started him in lessons. Although not classically trained, his early teachers instructed him in chord theory and in applying that to improvisation.
Dave began college, graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 1986, and began practicing in Indianapolis, IN. Struck by the "Ragtime Bug", and Dave returned to the St. Louis Riverfront and to his spot in the Don Scherrer Banjo Bands. In that role, he has performed at every VP Fair on the St. Louis Riverfront and continues to perform on the excursion boats to this day. He currently performs with the St. Louis Stompers Classic Jazz Band in St Louis and at national festivals from Florida to California. While holding down his spot in the rhythm section, he also does most of the bands arrangements.
Don Franz, the St. Louis Ragtimers' tuba player, introduced Dave to the late Jan Hamilton Douglas and a quick, but brief, friendship was forged. With Jan's urging, Dave started practicing and learning new rags. That experience, and his relationship with Don Franz, led to finally meeting the great Trebor Tichenor and Al Stricker, two other members of the St. Louis Ragtimers. With Trebor's assistance, Dave gained an invite to the Scott Joplin International Festival in 2000 and hasn't looked back since.
David Reffkin is founder and co-director of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, contributing editor and reviewer for The Mississippi Rag, a proofreader for books and articles written by the country's leading authors on ragtime, and, since 1981, the producer and host of "The Ragtime Machine," a weekly program of ragtime music, news, and interviews in San Francisco.
20 years after Reginald Robinson’s emergence as a young, self-taught, against the grain pianist and composer, he has become an internationally recognized pianist, recording artist and educator. Reginald scored new music for “Each One As She May” a play by Frank Galati and “Intimate Apparel” a play by Lynn Nottage both of which were nominated for music awards. He has also composed music for independent films including “Compensation” (2000), “Paper Trail” (2005), “Morning Due” (2007) and “Chicago’s Black Metropolis” (2010). Reginald has performed as a soloist internationally and has performed as guest artist with Orbert Davis Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and The Chicago Sinfonietta. In 2004, he was awarded the rare and distinguished John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Award for his innovation in ragtime. In November of 2011 Reginald was featured in a theatrical production called “Keep a Song in Your Soul”.
Rosangela Yazbec Sebba was only six-years-old when she first sat before the ivory keys of a piano. While in high school, Sebba won a national musical competition in Brazil. At Federal University in Goias, Brazil, she earned her bachelor’s degree in music and piano performance while working as a full-time performing musician. In 1994, after teaching at the State Conservatory for six years, Sebba came to the United States to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees, arriving at Mississippi State in 2001. Most recently, the classical pianist released “Sonata and Sonatinas by Camargo Guarnieri as performed by Rose Sebba” as a tribute to her home country, as well as to the noted Brazilian composer and her former mentor. In 2014, Sebba was named a Steinway Artist.
Universally hailed as America's greatest living boogie woogie pianist and proponent of stride, Bob Seeley is "a piano player like Mickey Mantle was a ball player." A fixture at the piano bar at Charlie's Crab in Troy, MI, Seeley has been entertaining for 30 years and presents a repertoire of piano music spanning the entire 20th century.
Martin Spitznagel has been hailed as a remarkable, astonishing, and "face-melting" musical talent. His virtuosic technique, sophisticated touch, and sparkling repertoire have left audiences across the country enthralled with America's first popular music, ragtime. Whether performing the masterworks of Scott Joplin or the score to Star Wars, Martin is truly at home on the piano bench. In addition to his musical pursuits, Spitznagel holds a BA in creative writing, a certificate in medieval and Renaissance studies, and an AS in filmmaking. This diverse skill set has enabled him to work on everything from a documentary film about polio with St. Elmo's Fire screenwriter Carl Kurlander to composing orchestral scores for short films and animations.
Adam Swanson, from Shenandoah, Iowa, is rapidly becoming known as one of the world's foremost performers and historians of American ragtime. He discovered ragtime on his grandparents' Web-TV and has played the piano for eleven years. Swanson has been a featured performer at ragtime and jazz festivals across the United States, and in 2007 he appeared alongside John Arpin at the Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival in the Republic of Hungary. In May of 2008, Swanson became the youngest-ever pianist to win the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest held in Peoria, Illinois.
Butch Thompson is one of the most prominent musicians in traditional jazz. Born in Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota, he was playing Christmas carols on his mother's upright piano by age three, and began lessons at six. He picked up the clarinet in high school, and led his first jazz group, "Shirt Thompson and His Sleeves," as a senior. He began his professional career at age 16 in Minnesota, and two years later was visiting New Orleans frequently to learn from veteran musicians like clarinetist George Lewis. He played American and European festivals during the 1960s and '70s and began his solo recording career in 1966. In 1974, he joined the staff of public radio's A Prairie Home Companion, an association that continues to the present. In addition to extensive touring (he has traveled the world from Cairo to Tokyo), he finds time to write and teach. His writing has appeared in various magazines including Down Beat and The Mississippi Rag, and among his teaching credits are residencies at the American University in Cairo and the New England Conservatory of Music. His recordings include the Grammy-winning Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton on the Verve label and a long-running solo series on Daring Records of Boston.
Virginia Tichenor is daughter of ragtime scholar Trebor Tichenor and past-president of the West Coast Ragtime Society. Wife of bassist and pianist Marty Eggers, Tichenor plays gigs with the Tichenor Family Trio, California's Devil Mountain Jazz Band, and as a solo pianist at festivals throughout the country.
Stephanie Trick "has come to practically dominate the stride piano field," notes reviewer Jack Rummel. With a swinging approach that includes boogie woogie and blues from the late '20s era plus Fats Waller and Ralph Sutton, Stephanie was the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Kobe-Breda Jazz Friendship Award, and has performed in many parts of the United States as well as in Europe in a variety of venues. A serious student, passionate about traditional jazz and stride heritage, she has studied under a number of celebrated musicians, including Louis Mazetier, Rossano Sportiello, Carl Sonny Leyland, and Danny Coots.
Terry Waldo is considered one of America's premiere performers and presenters of ragtime and early jazz. Known for his virtuoso ragtime and stride piano playing, charming vocals, and disarming wit, Waldo is the protégé of the legendary Eubie Blake, who called Waldo "an extension of my own musical self." Waldo has played countless New York jazz clubs, appeared in concerts worldwide, performed and composed for many TV programs, films, and theatrical productions, and produced and arranged over 40 albums, including a ragtime orchestra album for BMG. His This Is Ragtime, presently being republished by Jazz at Lincoln Center, is the definitive book on the subject of ragtime, and it, along with his 26-part series of the same title produced for National Public Radio, fueled the 1970s ragtime revival.
Richard Zimmerman, ragtime performer, historian, author and producer, has single-handedly been greatly responsible for the recent worldwide revival of Ragtime. He recorded THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SCOTT JOPLIN and more recently THE COLLECTOR'S HISTORY OF RAGTIME. Both are considered to be milestones in the annals of ragtime recording. As a producer he originated theatrical presentation of ragtime with his "Where It Was!" concert series in Los Angeles which featured ragtime stars of the present and the past - including the then forgotten Eubie Blake! He has since produced and directed many ragtime concerts.