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Marcus Roberts: The Joy of Joplin

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iTunes Review

Pianist Marcus Roberts, like his friend and mentor Wynton Marsalis, is as much of a jazz scholar as an instrumentalist and composer. Roberts has studied, performed, and improvised solo on the work of jazz piano titans ranging from Jelly Roll Morton and W.C. Handy to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. For his first album devoted to a single composer, he went further back into the pre-jazz history songbook of ragtime pioneer Scott Joplin (1868-1917). Pairing eight Joplin compositions with eight similarly spirited originals, Roberts created arrangements extemporaneously for the former. Stride, swing, and bop styles are infused into familiar “hits” such as “The Entertainer” (which has an impressive walking bassline in the middle section) and “Maple Leaf Rag” (and its formidable display of left-hand/right-hand independence). Roberts also displays a knack for the form on his own pieces, such as the elegant “Everything’s Cool” and the majestic title track.

Customer Reviews

I Love This CD, Here's Why:

I think the reviewer is dead wrong about this CD. First of all, Roberts' piano playing is flat out beautiful. He juggles some serious stride chops with a Monk-esque touch. He effortlessly superimposes time signatures between the left and right hand (that's really hard to do). His walking basslines and improvisations are masterful. With all his deep-rooted influences, Robert's sound is truly original. That's what an artist needs in order to be an artist, originality. Don't mock what you don't understand. Just listen again.

Holy Blasphemous Batman!

This album is taking something that is classic and utterly destroying it!

Supah Mario

Worktron could not be any more wrong. Marcus Roberts did a fantastic job on this CD! Do you know how hard it is to be a blind pianist yet do so good? Anyway, this CD is great.


Born: August 7, 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,...
Full Bio
Marcus Roberts: The Joy of Joplin, Marcus Roberts
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Customer Ratings