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No less a ragtime icon than composer Eubie Blake himself endorsed pianist, musical director, arranger and early jazz scholar Terry Waldo as being "an extension of my own musical self." Waldo's irresistible way with this music is in full glory on this 1974 concert. Blake himself was to have participated, but missed the concert due to illness. In his place Waldo plays a quartet of solo ragtime classics including two Scott Joplin tunes, which were then gaining new popularity through the soundtrack to The Sting (1973). His playing of those gems is flawless, as it is with Artie Matthews' "Pastime Rag No. 1 E."
That's only a part of what makes this gathering such a certifiable treasure. The loosening up gets going with some Dixieland supreme as Frank Powers' clarinet wails on "Some of These Days." Before it's done Roy Tate's trumpeting with plunger, Waldo's piano, the banjo of Bill Moorhead and, finally, Mike Walbridge's tuba have pulled out all the stops. With nary a pause the guys sail right into "I Would Do Anything For You" on which a solo by Powers, this time on alto saxophone, is outstanding.
But what makes this outing so essential is the presence of vocalist Edith Wilson on seven tracks. The third black woman ever to appear on phonograph records, Wilson's recordings predated Bessie Smith. Here she sings "Black and Blue," especially written for her by Fats Waller. There's no excess embroidery as she whams each word out in powerhouse fashion. She picks up the pace with "St. Louis Blues," Tate playing gorgeous plunging backup. By the time she gets jiggy singing, "poppa poppa poppa mama she do double love you," we are bearing witness to the vibrancy of a music that never grows old.
Track Listing: Terry Waldo Introduction; Some of These Days; I Would Do Anything For You; The Letter; Maple Leaf Rag; 12th Street Rag; How Coudl Red Riding Hood?; Sweet Georgia Brown; My Man Ain't Good for Nothing But Love; Am I Blue?; I'm A Great Big Baby; There'll Be Some Changes Made; To Keep from Twiddling Their Thumbs; Black and Blue; St. Louis Blues; Pastime Rag No. 1; The Entertainer; Atty. Gen. William Saxbe Comments; Ace in the Hole; The Mooche; At the Jazz Band Ball.
Personnel: Roy Tate: trumpet; Jim Snyder: trombone; Frank Powers: clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone; Terry Waldo: piano, leader, vocal ( 7); Bill Moorhead: banjo; Mike Walbridge: tuba; Wayne Jones: drums, vocal ( 3); Edith Wilson: vocals (9-15); William Saxbe: vocal (19).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.