Jun 222012

Gary Ellison Plays Some Ragtime

While attending my daughter’s piano recital Thursday night, we all got a treat.

After all of the kids played their pieces (I’ll post my daughters songs too), Janet Ellison, the music teacher, asked her husband Gary to play some music.

Now Gary Ellison has the designation of “Missouri’s Official Ragtime Piano Player”.  I knew this from the first day we signed my daughter up and even heard him play one tune.

But to my surprise, he gave us a history lesson AND sang!

Gary gave a review of the songs written by Missouri’s most famous composer.  I knew some of these melodies but (and I shouldn’t have been surprised by this) my Mom was much more familiar with a few of them.

I’ll let the video tell the rest of the story. Thanks Gary!

Oct 212011

Well, on the day when my new namesake website is coming on line, I got a tweet from a interesting little site called The Documentarian.

It caught my attention because piano great Thelonious Monk was mentioned.  I find all jazz interesting and in particular that era of bee-bop with the backdrop of lounges, segregation, the baby boom and a cold war.  Thelonious and other jazz greats of this time had found a outlet of expression very much tied to the culture of the time.  For many, jazz music, with its free form and ad-lib nature, is too esoteric.  I like it for that very reason; it is not (even back in its hayday) mainstream!

Anyway, this particular documentary was started and left unfinished until an executive producer and financier by the name of Clint Eastwood (a life-long jazz fan) picked it up and finished it.

It’s a YouTube longer video so block an hour and a half to watch it.  There is some language (remember the title is “Straight, No Chaser”!).

Oh, and something I didn’t know or never challanged, there is a history to the song “Just a Gigolo”, which Thelonious plays in the documentary, which is perhaps best known as a result of David Lee Roth’s music video rendering of part of this song.


 Posted by at 6:05 pm