Great Scott! Giants of Ragtime

Ragtime music as presented in this album, provides a glimpse of the music that swept the country at the beginning of the 20th Century, running a parallel course to early jazz. Weve gathered together in this album, the foremost composers of the genre, offering classic rags by Scott Joplin, Luckey Roberts, Tom Turpin, Louis Chauvin, Joseph Glover and Eubie Blake. Ragtime songs in our generation received an enormous stimulus in the film The Sting featuring Robert Redford and Paul Newman and was revived during the heyday of that film enjoying a second coming of sorts.

Come listen again to the greatest Rags of the 20th Century, such songs as "Chevy Chase," "Music Box Rag," "Maple Leaf Rag" (adopted by the early jazz pioneers), "Stoptime Rag," "Heliotrope Bouquet," "The Nonpareil" (none-to-equal), "Harlem Rag," "The Easy Winners" and "Hurricane Rag," not to forget "New Rag" by Scott Joplin, the acknowledged leader and innovator of the form. Enjoy!


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Chevy Chase New Rag Music Box Rag Harlem Rag (two step) Maple Leaf Rag Heliotrope Bouquet The Nonpareil (none to equal) Stoptime Rag The Easy Winners Hurricane Rag

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist No
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer Scott Joplin, Luckey Roberts, Tom Turpin, Louis Chauvin, Joseph Glover and Eubie Blake
Accompanist/ Conductor William Zinn, 1st violin; Stanley Karpienia, 2nd violin; Vincent Liota, viola; Julius Ehrenwerth, cello


Customer Reviews (3)

"Enjoyable with Strings Attached"Review by Big Toots
CJ 13 Great Scott! Giants of Ragtime Zinn’s Ragtime String Quartet

You have to hand it to the late Marvin Hamlisch; by incorporating Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” in the 1973 movie, “The Sting,” (for which he won an Academy Award for the song) the music of Joplin and others from that effervescent period in American music was revived and embraced across a broad audience. Subsequently, every type of musical ensemble from brass quintets to full symphony orchestras resurrected and started performing Joplin, et al. Thus, it’s no surprise to see this unique setting – a string quartet – dive into the Ragtime frenzy. And, for the greater part, it works fine.

With “Great Scott!” violinist William Zinn and his unique “Ragtime String Quartet” present ten Ragtime “hits” from Joplin, Eubie Blake, and some lesser-known Ragtime composers (Tom Turbin, Luckey Roberts and Joseph Glover). This is an engaging recording and overall a fun listening experience. The highly syncopated rhythms are completely infectious and Zinn and his team present the material well.

However, understand that a great chunk of the appeal of this genre is the no-holds-barred raucousness of it. That is something that appears somewhat lacking from these virtuoso players who are obviously accustomed to more precise environments. Remember that much of this “Good Time” music was performed in houses where “loose” was a behavioral necessity. Perhaps a little nip before this session might have unfettered Willie and the Boys. Similarly, the string quartet format has an inherent inability to generate significantly more intense volume (“The Hurricane”).

Zinn’s arrangements are superb in reflecting the Rag Masters material (“Maple Leaf Rag”). The charts have vibrancy, spirit and good humor (“Music Box Rag”) without sounding cartoonish. And, the team plays them with precision. The virtuosity of the players is unquestioned and readily apparent throughout the date, but with unnecessary tense teamwork (“The Nonpareil” “Stoptime Rag”).

“Great Scott! Giants of Ragtime” is a novelty certainly worth a listen. And, that is not a “Sting” by any means.
(Posted on 5/24/2015)
Zinn's Ragtime String QuartetReview by Simon Sez
Don’t feel bad, I never heard of Zinn either! Actually that is violinist William Zinn who put together a string quartet to play ragtime songs for this album. At the time, in the mid-1970s, Scott Joplin’s music and ragtime in general were making a surprise comeback, courtesy of Marvin Hamlisch and his decision to include a few of Joplin’s songs in the soundtrack of The Sting. Suddenly “The Entertainer” and Joplin’s rags were everywhere, after being forgotten for over 50 years.
For this fun and colorful album, Zinn and his string quartet play songs by Joplin, Eubie Blake, Luckey Roberts, Tom Turpin and Joseph Glover (no, I never heard of him either!). Usually this music is played by a solo piano, so it is unique to hear a string quartet play these beautiful melodies. Maybe William Zinn should have been much better known after all!

Simon Sez: Zinn’s Ragtime String Quartet on Great Scott (CJ13) show that ragtime sounds even more colorful on violins than it does on piano.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
Review by Scott Yanow
The strings really bring out the beauty of the rich melodies and the results are both unique and memorable.

Scott Joplin would have loved this album." (Posted on 6/12/2013)

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