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Brad Kay - Venice, CA

Pianist, cornetist, composer and musicologist BRAD KAY has played in and led bands in Los Angeles since 1965, when he began performing at Shakey’s Pizza Parlors. Music has been his consuming passion since childhood, starting with ragtime and developing into a love for all great American music — especially the hot jazz of the 1920s.

His band, The Majestic Dance Orchestra, re-created hot orchestral music of the ’20s and ’30s from 1975-’79 and again from 1991-’94. With his septet, The Uptown Curmudgeons of Swing (1995 to 1997), he evoked some of the great pianists of the era such as Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin (among many), but was essentially himself in his heatedly optimistic solos. Since 1997, he has led a piano trio, played cornet and piano and recorded with Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys. As a music researcher, Brad has made several important discoveries, including new and previously overlooked 78 rpm records by Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong. He has produced LP and CD reissues of great and overlooked artists such as pioneering bandleader James Reese Europe, and has contributed to many reissue CDs out of his vast collection of original 78s.

Classic ragtime was his first inspiration, and his entree into composing. A folio and cassette of some of Brad’s original ragtime compositions, “Seven Rags” appeared in 1994. Some of the best of his numerous original compositions can be heard on his debut album of piano music, “We Gotta Start Meeting Like This,” which was issued in 2002.

Brad performs and sings from a vast repertoire of the century’s popular music. A hit at the every RagFest since and including 2001, he returns this year as a soloist, a role festival audiences may find unusual – but which for Brad is par for the course.

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