Friday, March 16, 2012

Wally Rose Sure Whipped The Keys

The late pianist Wally Rose was an influential pianist who was part of the West Coast traditional jazz revival of the forties and fifties, as well as also brought back classic ragtime back into popularity. He was a member of Lu Watters Yerba Buena Jazz band as well as two groups that evolved from Watters Band, Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band and Turk Murphy’s Jazz Band.

Delmark has just issued a marvelous CD, Whippin’ the Keys, that reissues two lps from the Blackbird label. This disc is comprised on a number of classic, if lesser known, rags from the pens of James Scott, Scott Joplin and Joseph Lamb and others. From the stately introduction of the opening title track through the closing St. Louis Tickle, Rose places with grace and charm.

Its refreshing to hear such a lively, but never rushed sounding, set of performances with their lovely melodies and so tasteful rhythmic embellishments. Selections of particular merit include Raymond Bird's ‘Blue Goose Rag, James Scott’s Ragtime Oriole, Joseph Lamb’s lively Cleopatra Rag, Tom Turpin’s St. Louis Rag, Joplin’s Elite Syncopations, which evokes some of the music of Jelly Roll Morton, and Barney & Seymore’s St. Louis Tickle.

This is a gem that should not get overlooked.

This review originally appeared in the July 2008 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 306). I received a review copy from Delmark. Here is a video of Wally a few decades after recording this but sounding so good.  

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