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MMD > Archives > July 1998 > 1998.07.31 > 06Prev  Next

Ragtime Performer Cliff Neiswanger
By Ed Berlin

Hal Davis's memories of what Cliff Neiswanger told him of the
ragtime years are fascinating.  Is there any more you can tell us?
Neiswanger's high opinion of publisher John Stark recalls Jelly Roll
Morton's favorable statements.

The comments on Scott Joplin as a mediocre pianist agree with what
other ragtimers have said.  Joplin was occasionally praised as a
performer, but the praise usually came from non-musicians or those not
very familiar with the style.  I've hypothesized that Joplin's
performance skills may have declined by the early 1900s because of
early effects of the syphilis that killed him; this possibility is
supported in a recent article by a retired medical school dean in
_Mississippi Rag_.

> Unfortunately, I made very few notes of our conversations and those
> meager few that I did make were destroyed when our house was burned
> down in 1982.  Therefore, what I have now are only the memories.

Tell us what you know, and I'll take the notes.  And perhaps I'll
publish them, too.

Ed Berlin

 [ I can hear Ed panting like an old news-hound, hot on the trail
 [ of new research !  :)  -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 31 Jul 1998, 14:51:07 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Cliff, Neiswanger, Performer, Ragtime

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