Although the subtitle of this CD is "Radical Popmusic from the Ragtime Era," the Manhattan Ragtime Orchestra sometimes slips into the 1920s both in its repertoire and its interpretations. It performs classic rags, novelties, tangos, other Latin-tinged numbers, and bits of early jazz, including three numbers associated with the A.J. Piron Orchestra from New Orleans. There are even occasional solos, although fortunately played very much in the period style. The versatile musicians include such notables as clarinetist/leader Orange Kellin, cornetist Jon-Erik Kellso, pianist Terry Waldo, and banjoist John Gill (who takes vocals on the two W.C. Handy tunes). A highlight is one of the happiest and most enthusiastic versions of "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" to be heard. Some of the songs (particularly "Memphis Blues" and Scott Joplin's "Euphonic Sounds") and themes (such as "A Bunch of Blues," "Lassus Trombone," and "St. Louis Blues") are more familiar than others, but every number is fun to hear. A true delight.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow