Minding the Score: The Music of Harry L. Alford
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80743     Release Date: 2013-12-03

The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra; Rick Benjamin, musical director

While Harry L. Alford (1875-1939) was a composer of rare talent and imagination, the creation of melodies was only of peripheral interest. Alford yearned for something quite different and new-a musical path that had not yet been blazed by anyone else: that of expert sound-sculptor, ensconced in a modern office, sophisticated yet keenly attuned to the popular, working exclusively as an "arranger of music.

In the 1890s, when Alford formed this ambition, no such profession yet existed. Alford's vision of a large-scale independent bureau serving publishers, producers, theatrical stars, conductors, composers, and songwriters with ingenious, instantaneous, made-to-order musical arrangements had no precedent. And his execution of this dream succeeded beyond anyone's expectations, resulting in over thirty thousand scores which formed a repertoire played by virtually every American band and orchestra and heard by millions.

Alford arrangements were commissioned by almost all of the nation's music publishers and his songwriter and composer clients formed a virtual "who's who" of American popular music of the early twentieth century. Dozens of the biggest pop hits of the 1910s and '20s were first introduced to the public as "clothed" by Harry Alford. Vaudeville was America's leading form of entertainment, and during its golden age Alford was the composer/arranger of choice for every top vaude act.

Harry Alford's influence on American music was powerful, not only because of his massive output, but through his innovations. His distinctive "chromatic counterpoint," promotion of the brass and woodwind instruments as absolute equals of the strings, and brilliantly conceived percussion writing stood America on its ear. And through his once widely celebrated achievements, arranging came to be a recognized and a highly respected branch of the musical arts.

The selections heard on this recording were written between the years 1905 to 1925, the twenty-year period that offers the best overview of Alford's influence and artistic legacy.

Paragon Ragtime Orchestra

Minding the Score: The Music of Harry L. Alford

MP3/320 $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

The Hustler
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Jazorient
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Some of These Days & My Ever Lovin' Southern Gal
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Roll 'Em Up
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Just A-Wearyin' for You
Harry L. Alford
Buy
The Smiler
Harry L. Alford
Buy
The Smiler Rag
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Fiancée: The Bride to Be
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Jazette
Harry L. Alford
Buy
The Memphis Blues
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Independent Moving Picture March "Imp"
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Harry L. Alford
Buy
The Peacemaker
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Jazz Elite
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Spooks: A Midnight Chase
Harry L. Alford
Buy
A Perfect Day
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Memories (ballad)
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Memories (fox trot)
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Shapiro's Song Successes No. 4
Harry L. Alford
Buy
Call of the Elk: The Official B.P.O.E. March
Harry L. Alford
Buy