Gunther Schuller

Art of Scott Joplin

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Shortly before The Sting turned ragtime into a bit of a fad in the mid-'70s, Gunther Schuller conducted the New England Ragtime Ensemble (formerly a classical ensemble) through a dozen Scott Joplin pieces that had been orchestrated 70 years earlier for the legendary Red Back Book. This wonderful CD reissue features the group (comprised of trumpet, trombone, flute/piccolo, clarinet, tuba, piano, bass, drums, and a string quartet with occasional guests on oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and French horn) on very colorful versions of such numbers as "Elite Syncopations," "Wall Street Rag" (one of four pieces actually arranged by Schuller), "Solace," "Euphonic Sounds," and "Gladiolus Rag." The arrangements bring out fresh colors in Joplin's music and demonstrate that ragtime was not the exclusive domain of solo pianists. This delightful and important set is highly recommended.

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