Ragtime As Jazz
By
Dr. Mark Birnbaum


The jazz age begins around 1917, but jazz had been growing wherever the blues had been - New Orleans, Chicago, the Southwest to name a few. The great pianists - Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson (the Charleston), Fats Waller took ragtime and added a linear, swingy, bluesy quality making "ragtime into jazz". Duke Ellington and Count Basie also started out in the Harlem stride piano tradition. Ellington (influenced by James P. Johnson) took this to a large composing, conducting, band-leading venue that has not been rivaled. Basie (who idolized Fats Waller), also a first rate band-leader for decades, distilled ragtime and blues into his unique brand of jazz.
 

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