Saturday, February 7, 2015

two big birthdays!

The two great performers in Ragtime shown here were both born on February 7, which is to-day. Eubie Blake in 1887, and Arthur Collins in 1864. Eubie Blake was a performer in the Ragtime era and far beyond, all the way into the 1970's! He had the hands of a piano god and was a revolutionary pianist, who furthered the progression of Ragtime into Jazz, starting in 1911. 
Arthur Collins was one of the two who I did a seminar on last November, and it was interesting doing this, as I had to dig through so many books and record catalogs for information on him, as his background is a little sketchy. He was never really the most accomplished or well-known performer, even years after he began recording. So I'm guessing that his stage presence wasn't the best(unlike his partner in recording Byron G. Harlan...). Collins was a very good singer though, it's a shame that he didn't gain a very good reputation as a stage performer. He got his wonderful vocal skills from his mother, who to many accounts was a wonderful soprano. He was not the best person to be working with in recording though, as he wasn't a very nice person, and to the account of fellow recording artist Harvey Hindermeyer, "Every other word he said was profanity."Kinda makes sense, he sounds like the kind of person who would be like that. Anyhow, Collins is significant for recording a good heap of Ragtime on early records, and being the third-in-line to do so(Vess Ossman and Len Spencer were the first to do this.)
Eubie Blake was a late-ragtime pianist and performer who is best known for being the partner in vaudeville of Noble Sissle in the teen's, twenties and thirties. He became one of the most popular black performers in the 20's, after the death of the predecessor of this place, Bert Williams, in 1923. He was a showman, pianist, and a true Ragtime/jazz pianist. He kept these long-standing memories for as long as he lived(which was not over 100!) which was for 96 years, and he always played piano, every day to his death. I have many friends who were not only in the audience at his performances, but were also well-associated with him! he's a piano god who will never be forgotten to ragtimers and to jazz players! 

I hope you enjoyed this!

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