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Marcus Roberts: The Joy of Joplin

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Album Review

This is an odd solo piano recital by Marcus Roberts that is sure to upset ragtime purists. Instead of really conveying "the joy of Scott Joplin," Roberts merely uses some of the ragtime composer's melodies as vehicles for his own improvising. The results are often quite jarring, as Roberts feels free to change notes in the themes, alter the speeds, and just use chordal improvising. In addition to eight of Joplin's songs, Roberts contributed eight of his own that mostly have little to do with the structure of ragtime. Hearing his renditions of "The Entertainer," "Maple Leaf Rag," and "The Easy Winners" is analogous to hearing a classical pianist "take off" on a Beethoven symphony, playing spontaneously whatever he thinks fits. This CD is therefore only for listeners with very selective tastes.

Biography

Born: 07 August 1963 in Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts' focus on traditional styles and his willingness to speak sometimes disdainfully of music of more contemporary vintage has not been well accepted in some circles, and for a time he began to engender the type of attacks more often reserved for Wynton Marsalis and others regarded as reactionaries by some members of the jazz press. But Roberts must be credited with going his own way; unlike many of today's jazz pianists, he has little if any ties to McCoy Tyner, Ahmad Jamal,...
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Marcus Roberts: The Joy of Joplin, Marcus Roberts
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