Sidney Bechet: Maple Leaf Rag

Track

Maple Leaf Rag

Group

Tommy Ladnier & New Orleans Feetwarmers

CD

Classic Sides 1931-1937 (CD A) (JSP Records)

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Musicians:

Sidney Bechet (soprano sax), Tommy Ladnier (trumpet),

Teddy Nixon (trombone), Hank Duncan (piano), Wilson Meyers (bass), Morris Morland (drums)

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Composed by Scott Joplin

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Recorded: New York, September 15, 1932

Albumcoversidneybechet-classicsides1931-1937cd-a

Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

This recording, led by New Orleans standouts Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier, is from a "celebrated" session of the Feetwarmers band, to quote from Ted Gioia's review of a companion track, "I've Found A New Baby." My rating of "only" 89 for this track may be jazz heresy; but to my ears, they take this song at such a frenzied pace that balance, tone and nuance are often lost. (Part of the problem may be the CD's harsh, shrill digital remastering.) "I've Found a New Baby" has better balance and tone, and the various parts work together better for a creative whole, while maintaining the classic New Orleans ensemble playing and drive.

On the other hand, the music here has great energy and illustrates how the famous Joplin ragtime tune was revved up by New Orleans musicians into an intense work of jazz (which transformation was explicitly demonstrated by Jelly Roll Morton in his historic Library of Congress recordings).

Reviewer: Dean Alger

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