This is Ragtime by Terry Waldo (2009) -
The celebrated protege of the renowned Eubie Blake, Terry Waldo captures the history, personalities, and vibrance of Ragtime like none other can.

This enhanced 2009 republication by Jazz at Lincoln Center Library Editions includes:

Original Foreword by EUBIE BLAKE
Introduction by WYNTON MARSALIS
Updated Conclusion by TERRY WALDO
An Essay by PHIL SCHAAP that guides the reader
Full-Color Reprints of Ragtime Sheet Music Covers


Eubie Blake's foreword:

The first time I met Terry Waldo was in 1969 at the St. Louis Ragtime Festival on the Goldenrod Showboat. At that time he was one of the very few people who played my "Charleston Rag." He was a good pianist but he was struggling. Since then he's hit the top--he has become not only a fine musician but also an excellent entertainer. I want to emphasize this. The first time I ever heard Terry play the "12th Street Rag," I died laughing! In all my years in show business I've found out that that's one of the hardest things to do--make people laugh. Terry's ability to do this, combined with his musicianship, actually reminds me of Fats Waller! Now, I'm not going to say that I taught Terry how to play, because he already knew his stuff when I met him. But during the eight years we've known, each other Terry has spent a lot of time with me learning my music and learning about the people I have known and the way we used to live and perform. I mean that what Terry has learned from me is not so much the notes but the history, the tricks, the attitudes, the essence of ragtime.

It's not the same as it used to be. Anyone can learn the notes, and that's how they play it today: They play the notes--but that's not ragtime. Ragtime is syncopation and improvisation and accents. We all played our own style, but if you could have heard those old fellas play, you would have heard ad lib and those accents. Though seldom written into the music, they're very important, but you just don't hear them any more. Recently, Terry transcribed and edited a folio of my rags called SINCERELY, EUBIE BLAKE. This is the first time anyone has done this. I never could have done all that work myself, and I want to take the opportunity in print to say how grateful I am.

Terry knows about this music as few others do, for the music itself is only a part of it. You have to know about the backrooms of bars, the incredible prejudice we had to deal with, the hook shops, the beer and sawdust all over the floor; but these were the only places you could hear Jesse Pickett, Jack the Bear, Boots Butler. You have to understand the background; you can't pretend it has nothing to do with ragtime.

I heard ragtime all my life and it was cried down, even by the upper-class Negroes. But I always knew it was good music. Likewise, Terry's love of ragtime goes back a long way, long before its "rediscovery." People then were always trying to talk him out of playing that "corny old stuff," telling him that he'd never go anywhere with it. But he knew it was good music, too. And he knows, as I've said, that there's much more to it than just the notes. Not everyone playing ragtime today realizes that. Or they try to modernize it with lots of meaningless ad lib and end up losing the melody.

When I was young there were no books on ragtime or how to play it, even though it had already been going on a long time. Now nearly everyone who used to know about it is dead, and been dead for many years, except me. Terry's a fine pianist, but that's not what makes him qualified to write this book. What it is that he's always asked a lot of questions, the right questions, and he's been sharp enough to understand the answers. I believe Terry has written the real story on ragtime.



Copyright 2011