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Staff Picks Category: Ragtime music

Rags & tangos by Ernesto Nazareth, James Scott, Joseph F. Lamb performed by Joshua Rifkin, piano []



Put this in the CD player, close your eyes (assuming you’re not driving) and be transported to turn-of-the-20th-century piano heaven. Ernesto Nazareth is the greatest composer you’ve never heard of. His music is descended from Brazilian choro, Frédéric Chopin, and the soul of dance hall piano. In between the Nazareth “tangos” –which aren’t really tangos in any conventional sense– are works by my two favorite ragtime composers: James Scott, the bridge from Joplin to jazz, and Joseph Lamb, who can make the romantic tradition sound like striptease music and fill your heart with nostalgia for places and times that never were. One listen is worth ten thousand words.

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