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Contemporary Piano Roll Arrangers
By Gary Watkins

Robbie Rhodes mentions that Hal Boulware (Classics of Ragtime rolls)
and Howard Weilmuenster were also arranging ragtime rolls in the 1960s
and could have included Joplin's "A Real Slow Drag" (MMD 17.05.18).

One problem "A Real Slow Drag" has with arrangers and historians is
that it is not considered a "rag", as narrowly defined.  As a result,
it is often overlooked.

Another problem is this: I know of no modern source listing of piano
roll arrangers and their rolls -- not even in David Jasen's monumental
book, "Ragtime", published in 2007.  David discusses many ragtime
performers, but there is nothing on arrangers of piano rolls.

The Appendix of David's "Ragtime Piano Rollography" includes "live"
hand-played performances only on the QRS and modern Aeolian labels.
(QRS Custom Made Rolls in the CU series, however, are not included.)
Other labels are not listed at all, not even those featuring classic
rags.  Examples of omitted "live performance" labels include Front
Porch, Klavier, Play-Rite, and Custom Music Rolls.

With respect to arranged rolls, David's Rollography includes only the
"rag" Classics of Ragtime (COR) issues.  Other COR Joplin works, such
as "Pleasant Moments" and "Solace", are not mentioned.  Modern arranged
piano rolls other than COR are not included at all.

The "Hot Recut Piano-Rollography", compiled by Richard Riley in 1988,
is my only historical source for arrangers.  It lists the source
material and arranger for recut rolls issued up to that time.  It was
valuable then because most recut labels contained no source material
due to fears of lawsuits from QRS or other copyright owners.

Perhaps someone has complete records of modern piano roll arrangements
and can publish them here on MMD before these important names are lost
to history.  The names of most of the arrangers of the original early
rolls issued over 100 years ago have already been lost.

I can only offer what I know or what is in my collection as a starting
point.  This list is not limited to "rags":

Hal Boulware - Issued at least 169 "Classics of Ragtime" rolls.  (If he
included "A Real Slow Drag", it is not among the titles in my
collection.)

John Farrell - Released hundreds of jazz and ragtime piano rolls on
various labels, including "Hot Piano Classics", Jam, Jazzmaster,
Ragmaster and Jazz Man.

Alma and Howard Weilmuenster - Had hand-cut issues on the "A. &. H.
Weily" label.  Also  42 rags on "Ragged Recollections".  (These were
issued by the Piano Roll Store/Shop between 1994 and 2003.)

Other modern arrangers, in alphabetical order, and the original piano
roll labels on which they appear include the following:

Carl R. Barker - His own "Barkerolle" label

John Bartlett - Hot Piano Classics

Eric D. Bernhoft - His own "Upright and Grand" label

William Drake - His own Drake label

Andrew Fielding - Upright and Grand

L. Douglas Henderson - His own "Artcraft" label

Frank Himpsl - Hot Piano Classics, Klavier, and his own "Phantom
Fingers" label.

Dick Hyman - Jazz Master

Eddie James - Jazz Master

Joel Markowitz - His own JM label

Ralph Mullins - Pianorecord

Robbie Rhodes - Hot Piano Classics and Jazz Master (He is also "live"
on Front Porch and Custom Music Rolls.)

T. Westman - Pianorecord

Others can likely add much better information and details for this
subject!

Gary Watkins


(Message sent Tue 23 May 2017, 15:42:30 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Arrangers, Contemporary, Piano, Roll

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