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Album Review

Although ragtime is primarily thought of as music played by solo pianists, during the ragtime era there were many orchestras that performed the lively syncopated style using full orchestrations. In 1985, educator Rick Benjamin accidentally discovered most of the Arthur Pryor Orchestra's existing library (which was about to be thrown away) and formed the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra in order to bring the music back to life. In addition to a string quintet, the band uses two cornets, a trombone, two clarinets, a flute, tuba, string bass, drums, and percussion on this CD, its recording debut. The colorful charts range from Scott Joplin and W.C. Handy to obscurities, pop tunes of the era, a "George M. Cohan Medley," and "An Operatic Nightmare: Desecration Rag No. 2." This is delightful and timeless music that was almost permanently lost.

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