Ragtime Revisited

A unique concert is promised at Helmsley Arts Centre on 18 March at 7.30pm, when Martin Litton (piano), has arranged the works of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton and others for this trio of piano, clarinet and drums to be performed.

John Petters – ‘England’s finest Traditional Jazz Drummer’ – (The Mississippi Rag USA), an acknowledged expert on early jazz and ragtime, brings this concert to Helmsley.

Ragtime, essentially written for the piano, was the first African American music to be notated and is a close relative of early New Orleans Jazz  It’s most popular composer, Scott Joplin, composed his famous piece ‘Maple Leaf Rag’ in 1899 and ‘The Entertainer’ followed two years later.

Throughout the first decade of the last century, ragtime became the most dominant popular music, with many novelty songs using ‘rag’ or ‘ragtime’ in the title.  New Orleans piano legend, Jelly Roll Morton, (leader of the ‘Jelly Roll Morton Red Hot Peppers’)  adapted  the ragtime style and made it jazzy.

Martin Litton, a leading authority on the hot music of the era, studied piano at the Colchester Institute. After graduating, he joined Harry Gold’s Pieces of Eight and then spent two years with Kenny Ball touring Russia and the Middle East.  His work with leading British jazz musicians includes recordings with Humphrey Lyttleton and Wally Fawkes, and backing the US stars.

Richard Exall (clarinet) studied first with Jack Brymer and then with Michael Collins at the Royal College on Music.  He quickly became a familiar figure on the London jazz scene and in 2004 joined the ‘Big Chris Barber Band’ working also with most of the established big bands such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

This small band really knows their stuff and it promises to be an exciting evening!

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