About the Sutter Creek 2010 Ragtime Festival Performers
Jack and Chris Bradshaw, ragtime piano duo artists from Gilroy, Calif., are
bringing their unique sound to Sutter Creek again this year.
Jack's four-hand arrangements of popular rags, cakewalks, marches
and novelty numbers are played with a sparkle reminiscent of
old-time piano rolls. This lively pair has also appeared at the West
Coast, Scott Joplin, Blind Boone, RagFest, Shaniko, Cascade, and the
Fresno Flats Ragtime Festivals, The Ragtime Corners of the
Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, and Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo. The
rollicking road to ragtime thus far has taken them to 11 states and
Tom Brier, affectionately dubbed "Hot Rod Tommy," used to be California’s greatest ragtime secret until the summer of 2001, when he made his debut to tremendous applause (and much jaw-dropping) at the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, MO and the Blind Boone Festival in Columbia, MO. In his early thirties, this composing genius and pianist extraordinaire, hails from Oakdale, a Central Valley farming community south of Sacramento. He currently lives in Sacramento where he works as a programmer/analyst for the County of Sacramento. Tom caught the ragtime bug when his parents purchased a Schubert mechanical player. He was only 4, but when he started picking out tunes he heard on the piano rolls, his parents immediately found him a piano teacher. Soon Tom was notating his own music and by age 11, he had composed nearly a dozen rags. Today he has well over 160 ragtime compositions to his name (more than 200 if collaborations with other composers are counted), all remarkably original but clearly demonstrating his depth of understanding of early ragtime subtleties. In 1985, at age 14, Brier made his first appearance at the Sacramento Ragtime Society meeting, blowing everyone away with his signature rapid-fire left hand runs. Since that time, Brier has been a mainstay at the Ragtime Corner of the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the West Coast Ragtime Festival, and recently our Mother Lode Ragtime Society gatherings. He has recorded six CDs, has a vast ragtime sheet music collection, is noted for performing and popularizing extremely rare but wonderful rags, and for inspiring pianists to attempt to keep up with him.
The Carl Sonny Leyland Trio was formed in 2003 by Carl Sonny Leyland on piano with Marty Eggers on bass and Hal Smith on drums. There was such a natural synergy between the three musicians that a recording of their first performance was good enough to issue on a CD (Broadway Boogie, now out of print). Their versatile combination has proven successful over the years. They have recorded six CDs to date (including a collaboration with Nathan James & Ben Hernandez) and continue to work steadily on the festival scene. Hal will not be able to make the 2010 Sutter Creek Festival, but Carl and Marty surely will be playing together.
Featuring the virtuoso piano stylings of
Frederick Hodges, with accompaniment by Marty Eggers on tuba and
Virginia Tichenor on drums, The Crown
Syncopators were formed to perform at San Francisco's Pier
23, where each of its members also plays solo piano monthly. Their
repertoire is almost exclusively ragtime.
was first exposed to ragtime at the age of 2 when his father played the Maple Leaf Rag on the home piano.
The syncopated rhythms left an impression on Jared, and at age 8 he started taking formal piano lessons.
Within a year and a half, he was playing The Entertainer. After receiving a folio of Scott Joplin's rags
and some recordings, Jared dove deeper into ragtime enthusiasm, and has since expanded his repertoire
to include the works of other ragtime composers, as well as novelty and stride piano.
Marty Eggers is
well known on the West Coast as a top-notch ragtime pianist and
bassist. Marty's music career began in Sacramento where as a
teenager he helped found the Sacramento Ragtime Society in 1982. He
has played with numerous San Francisco Bay Area jazz and ragtime
groups, most notably John Gill's San Francisco JazzBand and the
Black Diamond Jazz Band. His talent and versatility have led him
into several varied and prestigious engagements, from recording with
traditional jazz legend Bob Helm to touring Germany with Hal Smith's
Rhythm Cats to playing in backup bands for both Leon Redbone and
Butch Thompson. Marty is also a skilled composer and arranger of
ragtime and traditional jazz.
Terry Waldo describes Marty as having "..an encyclopedic knowledge of the ragtime and early jazz repertoire ..."
Marty is married to ragtime pianist Virginia Tichenor (see below) and is a past president of the West Coast Ragtime Society.
Vincent Johnson, a
ragtime composer, pianist, researcher, and enthusiast, was first
attracted to ragtime music at age 12, after hearing his friends play
Scott Joplin rags. He began learning "The Entertainer" and "Maple
Leaf Rag" by watching and listening to the pieces being played by
others. He began attending Rose Leaf Ragtime Club gatherings in
order to learn more about this musical genre and listen to live
performers play rags. Piano lessons soon followed, and soon he was
learning pieces of varying ragtime styles, from classic ragtime to
Carl Sonny Leyland blew everyone’s socks off at our 4th Sutter Creek
Ragtime Festival (when he was lesser known) and has subsequently
done the same at just about all the prestigious festivals in the
country, including the Scott Joplin and Blind Boone Festivals in
Missouri, the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, Orange
County’s RagFest, plus the Sacramento and San Diego Jazz
Jubilees. We’re lucky he loves us and agreed to thrill us with
a return appearance this year. His ability to recreate obscure and
primitive styles in the genre of barrelhouse, blues, and boogie
woogie, combined with the originality and soulfulness of his own
music, makes him one of today’s most exciting pianists. Plus he
For more than 30 years, local jazz fans and those from remote parts
of the United States and Europe have come to San Francisco's night spots and concert venues
to hear jazz pianist Mike Lipskin perform sparkling musical gems in the Harlem Stride jazz piano style.
Only a handful of contemporary jazz pianists can play Harlem Stride — the sound of Fats Waller,
James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington, Willie "The Lion" Smith and Art Tatum. Mike has devoted his life
to stride, is one of these exceedingly rare pianists, and has even created his own stride sound.
He also writes new pieces in this vibrant full jazz piano sound, some of which can be heard on his
Larisa Migachyov has played the piano all her life and discovered ragtime in 2005, when she joined the San Antonio Ragtime Society. She has composed more than 20 rags and performed at various festivals around the country. Her latest CD, Oh, that Ragtime Chick!, features all her own compositions. She recently passed the California Bar Exam.
Will Perkins is
a teenage pianist from a small town in the Central Valley of
California called Riverbank. At age 11, Will began taking piano
lessons. While he quickly started down the path of classical piano,
his mother suggested learning The Entertainer. His piano
teacher got a book with several ragtime pieces in it, and soon Will
was learning a simplified version of Maple Leaf Rag. Full of
ambition, he went to a local music store and picked up a book with
several Scott Joplin pieces, and quickly learned the original
version. And as they say, the rest is history.
Stevens Price, former owner of the Sutter Creek Ice Cream Emporium, is the founder of the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival. After hearing his dad perform "boogie woogie" on the family piano, Stevens began picking out music by age 12 and was soon playing boogie and other styles as a self-taught artist. Then he went to college as a music and drama major, where he decided to take piano lessons. Needless to say, he had to unlearn certain techniques. When he discovered ragtime, Stevens became a regular at the Maple Leaf Club meetings in Los Angeles. He still remembers playing Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" with six other club members on six pianos. At the Ice Cream Emporium, Stevens still occasionally plays for the enjoyment of the customers, and due to the success of the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival, the ice cream parlor has become the ragtime center of the Mother Lode and home of the Mother Lode Ragtime Society. Recently Stevens has taken to composing ragtime and has at least seven ice-cream flavored toe-tappers to his credit. Stevens is active with the Sacramento Ragtime Society, has performed at the Ragtime Corner at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.
The Ragnolia Ragtette mixes the elegant to humorous gems of the ragtime era with some of the newer, favorite contemporary rags. Listen as this artful combination of 4-hand piano, tuba and percussion present parlor tunes that burst forth in high ragtime style. Playing the music that originated from the recreational houses on one side of the tracks and later made its way to the upstanding respectable, family homes on the other, Ragnolia brings the ragtime era to life. It’s ragtime with enthusiasm. This ensemble made its debut at the 2008 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival.
Skedaddlers were formed in 2008 to play ragtime string
band arrangements for two mandolins and guitar. First mandolinist
Dennis Pash is well known to ragtime enthusiasts as the founder of the
legendary Etcetera String Band. He is an extraordinarily expressive
player. No one is better at bringing out the folk roots that underlie
so many ragtime compositions. In addition to numerous festival
appearances as a performer, Dennis has written and lectured on the
development of string ragtime. Nick Robinson plays the second mandolin
part which is unique to the published string arrangements. Nick has
played a variety of musics, including American old time, klezmer, and
Indonesian gamelan. Dave Krinkel is an accomplished guitarist who also
plays with the traditional American old time band,
the Tea Sippers.
Formed in December 2005, the band has become
part of the ragtime scene in the Sacramento and Sierra foothills
areas. They have participated in the Ragtime Corner of the
Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the West Coast Ragtime Festival, and have
been featured at Auburn Concert Band performances. They perform at
the Sacramento Ragtime Society and The Mother Lode Ragtime Society
John Remmers, from Ann Arbor, Mich., is a retired professor of computer science with a serious addiction to playing ragtime piano. He is seen and heard frequently at ragtime festivals around the U.S., whether it be in open-piano after-hours sessions or as a billed performer. In addition, he dabbles in creative writing and has an interest in web design and programming.
Tim Rotolo made a splash as a walk-on performer during Open Piano sets at the 2008 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival. A student at Upland High school in Southern California, Tim participated in the nationally recognized Highlander Marching Band for two years. He plays piano for two hours most Saturday nights at the Mt Baldy Lodge (and restaurant) and occasionally at Galli's Restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga. For three years, Tim studied with Johnny Hodges, who was a featured pianist on Main Street at Disneyland for 25 years.
Born and raised in eastern Kentucky, Squeek Steele began playing the piano by ear at the age of 3, with her formal music training beginning when she was 8. Squeek holds a Master's Degree in music. A pianist, organist, composer and teacher, Squeek has performed internationally from Singapore to Germany, New Zealand and Nepal, and on the east and west coasts of the United States.
Hailed as "a lightning bolt in a black dress" (Philadelphia Inquirer), Squeek played her way into the Guinness Book of World Records for most songs performed on piano from memory (1990 book, p.18, under "Squeek" Moore). She performed 1,852 songs in a three-week period. The record remains unbroken.
Though Squeek is classically trained, she plays all styles and genres of music. Specializing in ragtime and early 20th Century American popular music, she has recorded 15 CDs.
Squeek now makes her home in the old mining town of Virginia City, Nevada, where you can sometimes find her playing at the Bucket of Blood Saloon or down at the Gold Hill Hotel.
Monty Suffern is an Australian who currently resides in Texas where he leads a retired life, walking his dogs, building an airplane and practicing his piano whenever possible. He has been playing piano more than 50 years, having started on his seventh birthday, and concentrates mainly on ragtime and stride styles.
Monty attended the 2008 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival on his way from Texas to Melbourne, Australia, to visit family (everyone knows that Sutter Creek is en route between Texas and Australia). He intended simply to enjoy the festival as an observer/audience member, but due to the illness of one of the featured artists, Monty was co-opted onto the program. His very unique rollicking style (which uses handfuls of notes) was quite a hit, and he enjoyed this role so much that he has agreed to return in 2009 to perform in this year's festival.
In recent years, he has also performed at festivals in San Antonio, Sedalia, Eau Claire and Lake Superior.
The Sullivans & Drivons offer an array of contemporary and classic rags, including Latin tangos and waltzes, plus ragtime and novelty songs. Among the pillars of the Sacramento and West Coast Ragtime Societies, the Sullivans have been part of the ragtime scene for many years. They have enjoyed performing at various festivals, concerts, and special events — from Santa Nella to China for Shanghai television.
A Sacramento native, Petra Sullivan has a degree in Music and teaches violin and piano. Bub Sullivan studied classical piano as a child, then later took up string instruments before discovering ragtime as a student in St. Louis.
The Sullivans are delighted to have the Drivons rounding out the quartet with their excellent talent and tasteful musicality. Robyn Drivon is Counsel for Yolo County. Steve Drivon tours professionally, most recently with the Rock Bottom Boys. The Drivons make their home sweet home in Woodland.
Keith Taylor began playing ragtime in 1972. Until that time, his musical background was classically oriented. Earning a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and a Masters in composition, including studying composition in Paris, France, he continues to perform and compose both types of music. For many years he taught instrumental music in the Los Angeles Public Schools. He currently lives with his wife in Azalea, Oregon where he freelances as a composer and a pianist. Since boyhood, Keith has traveled twice a year to the Mother Lode to photograph the historic towns and to play every saloon piano he finds — tuning and repairing them while he's at it — a very popular fellow! In 1998 he dropped by the Sutter Creek Ice Cream Emporium, where he discovered another piano and Stevens Price, someone he hadn't seen since the two met at The Maple Leaf Club in Los Angeles 20 years earlier. Keith was the inspiration behind Stevens' decision to organize the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival of 1999, and that was such a success, Keith returned home and re-organized the Cascade Ragtime Society which now sponsors an early April Ragtime Festival in Roseberg, Oregon. Keith, along with Tom Bopp, is also responsible for initiating the Fresno Flats Vintage Music Festival held each February in Oakhurst, CA. Keith’s latest undertaking is the Annual Shaniko Ragtime and Vintage Music Festival held in a wonderful ghost town in Oregon each September.
Virginia Tichenor has been consumed by ragtime her entire life. She is the daughter of Trebor Tichenor, the noted ragtime scholar, pianist, collector and founder of the St. Louis Ragtimers. She studied music at the St. Louis Community Association for the Arts and took advanced training from concert pianist, John Phillips. Always at the crossroads of the ragtime revival, her parental home houses the world's largest library of ragtime sheet music and piano rolls. Virginia grew up with legends like Eubie Blake, Max Morath and Butch Thompson chatting in her own living room. Her father is advisor-confidant for most of the ragtime community, so Virginia often heard new rags when they were forming in the minds of their composers. The topic of her college research project? The ragtime revival, of course! In 1998, Virginia released her first solo recording, a CD entitled Virginia's Favorites. It includes four two-piano duets with her father, Trebor. It was so popular, the family has since released two other CDs, "The Tichenor Trio" which includes Virginia's father and her multi-talented husband, Marty Eggers, and most recently, "Ragtime Reunion - Tichenor Family Five" featuring Virginia, her dad, her husband, her brother, and her sister-in-law. She is the Vice President, and past President, of the West Coast Ragtime Society.
Town Square Harmonizers will be performing around town during the Festival. For additional information, go to their website at: www.townsquareharmonizers.com