Howard Alden

Plays the Music of Harry Reser

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Although one thinks of the banjo as being primarily a background chordal instrument played rhythmically in dixieland bands, Harry Reser in the 1920's showed that it could be used creatively by virtuosos (although virtually no one followed in his shadow). In 1988 guitarist Howard Alden for a change of pace switched to banjo and performed 15 of Reser's compositions that were written during 1922-35. These duets (with supportive piano supplied by Dick Hyman) are often remarkable for Reser's wholly-composed music (which was influenced by novelty piano ragtime) is quite tricky and difficult yet very rewarding to hear. Performing such numbers as "Crackerjack," "Lollipops," "Wampum" and "The Cat And The Dog," Howard Alden makes the obscure vintage music come alive and does not sound as if he were playing his "second" instrument. A gem.