Ragtime and hot jazz is finally making a comeback. The 1910s-1930s has often been an ignored era for American music. Oldies radio skips right past the roaring period of flappers, prohibition, and the dust bowl era- instead playing an 80s song plays on the “good times” station. Recently, shows like Boardwalk Empire have started to revive interest in the “good old days” of music.
I’ve had a soft spot for 78s and pre-war compositions ever since my introduction to the record player, and stumbling on archived recordings of abandoned, scratchy songs of yester-century. Jazz, blues, and novelty songs have there own aura that is hard to recreate today in all its digitalism.
On a trip to San Francisco, some street-performing brothers had a bare-bones piano on the sidewalk during my sightseeing that seemed to revel in ragtime appreciation. You can listen to their ragtimy revival originals as I did. This one sounds a bit more gothic classical, but you get the idea:
They play solo, but perform songs alternately together. The guys are from Oakland, but happened to bring their run-down but well-tuned piano to downtown Frisco. Not often you hear live piano in front of skyscrapers.
Anyway, long live ragtime. Get your grandparents to whip out their pianos and play some great tunes from their hayday. Or grab a couple of 78s from a thrift shop. There’s music and techniques that people have lost as the generations have moved on.