« | Main | The Best of 2006: Accolades for New World Recordings »

From Barrelhouse to Broadway: The Music Odyssey of Joe Jordan
By David Lewis

Chances are, if you know anything at all about Ragtime, you have heard of Scott Joplin. Joplin was originally from Sedalia, Missouri and spent several years in St. Louis, the city where, at the turn of the century, Ragtime was king. Among a number of younger composers who, like Joplin, frequented St. Louis' Silver Dollar Saloon and admired it's resident "perfesser" Tom Turpin was pianist and composer Joe Jordan, who would go on to an international career that would take him from Chicago to Broadway, to England and, in his sixties, into the U.S. Military as a decorated officer. That we know the name of Joplin, and not that of Jordan, who lived right up until a couple of years before the Academy Award winning film The Sting was released, is just one of those vagaries of the way time sometimes affects the reputation of deserving people. Rick Benjamin and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra have decided to redress this omission through an excellent career survey on Joe Jordan, From Barrelhouse to Broadway: The Music Odyssey of Joe Jordan on New World Records...The performances here are lively and spontaneous here when needed, yet restrained and demure when the music calls for it. The singing, mainly by tenor Trevor B. Smith and soprano Bernadette Boercke, happily avoids the kind of over-arch vocalizing one often hears in these kinds of re-creations. The dance numbers are delightfully toe-tapping as well, and the Paragon plays them with pep—one would be hard pressed to find a reason to discourage anyone, particularly those inclined towards the pre-jazz popular music of the early twentieth-century, from checking out New World's generally excellent From Barrelhouse to Broadway: The Music Odyssey of Joe Jordan. More