April 2015 OCRS: Cut time and fewer pianists yield a compact but enjoyable musicale
The April 2015 OCRS unfolded with a smaller complement of performers than usual, but what they delivered was no less enjoyable than always.
Ron Ross opened the afternoon with a set of originals, starting with “Cell Phone Rag.” He followed up with a piano-only version of his song “Small Town Private Eye” and ended with “Sweet is the Sound.”
Frank Sano had Wenrich’s “Red Rose Rag”; “Oh, You Beautiful Doll”: and the mid-20s standard “Louise.”
Stan Long offered a pair of Zez Confrey selections: “Dizzy Fingers” and “Nickel in the Slot.” He closed his set with the Charles N. Daniels standard “Indian Summer.”
Shirley Case offered a late-20s number by George L. Cobb, “Procrastination Rag” (1927), then came up to nearly the present with two by Galen Wilkes: “Puppy on the Piano” (1982) and “Queen of the Diamonds” (1998).
Gary Rametta had two wonderful pieces by Eastwood Lane: “The Pow Wow, an Indian Reminiscence” (1919) and “Land of the Loon” (1922). He closed his set with James Scott’s first big hit, “Frog Legs Rag.”
Ron Ross returned with two more originals, “Retro Rag” and “Digital Rag.”
Frank Sano delivered “Hello, Ma Baby” (1899) and the sparkling “Champagne Rag.” Lamb wrote it in 1910, yet it’s as fresh as ever.
Stan Long gave us a “slightly extended” version of his “Short Boogie,” then a second original, “Haunting Accident.”
Shirley Case had David Guion’s wonderfully moody “Texas Fox Trot” from a century ago (1915), then “Bumble Boogie.”
Gary Rametta added a third Eastwood Lane selection, “A Dirge for Jo Indian” (1922), then Duke Ellington’s marvelous “Reflections in D” from 1953.
Jeff Hartman, a longtime audience member but rarely a performer, took to the stage to offer Joplin’s “Weeping Willow.”
Frank gave us the standard tune “Dinah.” Stan delivered a favorite of those who haunt Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, the “Grim Grinning Ghosts” – but done Long-style, as a boogie. Shirley chimed in with Lamb’s lovely “Cottontail Rag.”
Gary kept up the Lane theme with the composer’s 1922 opus “The Legend of Lonesome Lake.” Ron had another original up his sleeve, the “Valley Ragtime Shuffle.”
Frank started the final encores with Gershwin’s “’S Wonderful.” Stan encored with the ragtime perennial “Maple Leaf Rag.” Ron did his final original of the day, “Orange County Rag,” and Gary wrapped up the short but sweet afternoon with the poetic Joplin masterpiece, “Gladiolus Rag” – as always a powerful way to conclude a solid afternoon of great ragtime.
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