COTTON BLOSSOM TIME
Jazz Crusade JCCD 3124 2007, 18 tracks 76 min
Bosn’ Rag, Whoa You Heifer, Roberto Clements, The Easy Winners, Ma Ragtime Baby, Peaceful Henry, The Ragtime Dance, Ethiopia Rag, Elite Syncopations, Africa Pas, Original Rags, Echoes From The Snowball Club, Havana Rag, The Moose- A March, The Entertainer, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Climax Rag, Cotton Blossom Time
Most unusual: a CD of classic ragtime music.
Normally you find ragtime either as a solo piano CD or played in a non classic style as part of the mix on a traditional jazz band CD. This is ‘Classic’ ragtime with the Barfota jazzmen leaving their usual ‘revival’ style behind, acquiring violinist Svante Nordell, and playing more as an orchestra than a jazz band. The tunes come from various sessions. Tracks 1-5 1997, 6-10 2001, 11-15 2005 and 16-18 2006 with all but the 2006 session being culled from earlier albums released on their own label.
I have the band’s 1990 ‘My Life Will be Sweeter Someday’ album, which contains a couple of rags, but they are not really in the same style as the music on this CD, which is ragtime as it was intended to be played, rather than as jazz bands play it today. Having said that the tracks 1-10 to my ear seem a lot ‘tighter’ than the later ones, though that could be more due to the tunes them selves. Ragtime, played in the original style, is a very precise, technical formal style of music. Listen to ‘Ma Ragtime Baby’ and ’Ethiopia Rag’ to hear it at its most exact. One thing I really found interesting was the clever way the violin & clarinet often played the same line together, with ‘Original Rags’ and ’The Easy Winners’ being my favourite examples.
This is a fascinating CD and well worth adding to your collection.
Nuts: I lent this CD to my father to listen to. He loves it so much he says that I won't get it back until I inherit his estate!