Sidney Bechet: Maple Leaf Rag

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).

February 16, 2009 · 0 comments


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