A Ragtime Confession by Jaz Dorsey — Jaz Dorsey , Lucy Turner , Piano Society of Nashville — AAPEX

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Ragtime Confession by Jaz Dorsey

12-year-old Lucy Turner sings Jaz Dorsey's
Manhattan Blues (with Dorsey at the piano)

There are times - as I'm sure many other piano players would agree - when you feel you could change the world with a piano.

When I hear someone who can play the music of Scott Joplin, for instance, I do wonder at the miracle that is man. That's why The Piano Society of Nashville opened it's doors today to Jim Lutz, piano, and Eleanor Hall, violin, with three rags by Joplin. And from there we plunged down the rabbit hole that is the music of the piano.

I myself was astounded at the team of artists we had somehow managed to assemble and at the rainbows, thunderstorms and butterflies that, among us, we managed to evoke from the enchanted ivories of the beautiful grand piano in The Celebrity Center of Nashville, itself an enchantment of Nashville's Victorian era architecture.

I have always thought of myself as a fusion of Bob Dylan and Scott Joplin, and today I found that I wasn't alone as my songs got to share the stage with one of those songs that defies genre but taps you on the shoulder and says "wake up" - and this was a song called ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT by NSAI member Laurie O'Shea.

And frankly, that is what the show is about - we need to admit that talent is not a geographical phenomenon. We - by which I mean artists, all artists of all lands - need an attitude adjustment. We are a nation.

But if it is geographical (talent), Nashville is surely one place you would expect to find it. N'est-ce pas?

That's why we are all waiting with baited breath for the upcoming previews of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and to see what Jerry Lewis and his team of legends hath wrought. Including Marvin Hamlisch, speaking of ragtime.

In fact, it was THE STING that infused ragtime into my soul. When I started writing music, it was because I wanted to feel the way that Joplin felt when he created his music. If I could read music, I might have contented myself to study Joplin, but at 60 years old, I'm still going "every - good - boy - does - fine" to remember the name of the notes, so if I wanted to feel the feelings that playing such music produces, I had to write my own.

Apparently so did Joseph Akins, Charlie Yarborough and Mel Nelson, whose compositions took us on a ride from Rachmaninoff to Ireland to Harlem.

As for me, I heard my songs sung by a team of gals that would be the envy of the Ziegfeld - in order of appearance:

Lucy Turner
Audrey Belle
Roxie Rogers
Rebecca Carter
Michelle Glenn

And just think - none of this would ever have happened if it hadn't been for ragtime.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.

Jaz Dorsey
The Piano Society of Nashville.


1 comment:

  1. Great show! Looking forward to more activities going forward.