[Dixielandjazz] Fw: Compendium, Ragtimes, and Dixieland at the 1904 Fair(Long post about "Dixie")

Bob Romans cellblk7 at comcast.net
Fri Jan 21 21:14:29 PST 2005

A discussion of Ragtime and "Dixie"...VERY interesting research!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Irisrick at aol.com 
To: cellblk7 at comcast.net 
Cc: 4ibach at mchsi.com 
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 8:42 PM
Subject: Compendium, Ragtimes, and Dixieland at the 1904 Fair

Hi Bob. It is a pleasure to write you after all this time. This is Rick Schwartz....Just received a string of interesting emails from Art. He really is a fine gentleman. We have been corresponding for quite a while, I think ever since the Compendium was uploaded on the Internet, five years already? The cornet is making a resurgence. Halleluia! As far as Dixie or Ragtime is concerned, I actually only know of nine (9) documented pieces played by the big bands (by Weil, etc.) at the 1904 Fair that could be called ragtime and only fifty-one (51) times the word "Dixie" was ever mentioned in a title of a band piece at the event. The titles to which I refer are the ones printed in the 186 Daily Official Programs for the event. There were in fact only two famous Ragtimes ever played by the bands at the event, documented in the Daily Official Programs, the St. Louis Rag (Turpin) and The Entertainer (Joplin). The other 7 ragtimes were lesser-known pieces. Sousa was not documented playing any Ragtimes in the Daily Official Programs at all. None at all. If Pryor would have played at the event, his band would have been blowing away on them, but his group just never made it, as they were much too busy on tour. The old Pioneers in Brass mentions that he may have gone to the event, but there is no primary documentation to support that idea. I could not find any, after examining the three main newspapers in St. Louis for the 1903 and 1904 years, and all of the Minutes of the Music Bureau for that time period. The Music Bureau of the 1904 Fair had even banned ragtime at the event [!], but it heard so many complaints from band directors that it rescinded the ban about one day before the event. This may be the reason, in fact, why no rags were mentioned in the Programs, simply because there were printed long before the event, when the ban was still in effect. The large bands, even Sousa, probably did play them, either as encores or between numbers. Ragtime was also played certainly along the Pike, and there even was a Ragtime contest at some building on the Pike, but official documents were not only rare, but seldom mention ragtimes at all. I agree that the "Dixie" pieces must certainly have been compilations of Southern Tunes, Dixie itself, even variations on Dixie, but nothing like the quintessential "Dixieland" pieces we expect to hear or play. Although the words to "Dixie" are definitely socially distasteful, certainly none of the "Dixie" titles themselves would be considered socially unacceptable. There were titles of other pieces that would be certainly, but no titles with the word "Dixie" interpolated into them. In any case, it would be a pleasure to engage in correspondence my friend. I hope that the New Year greets you with good health and many gigs! My best, Rick. 

Dr. Richard I. Schwartz 
307 Wright Avenue 
Colonial Heights, Virginia 23834 

The Cornet Compendium Site 
Bands at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904 Site 
Richmond Symphonic Winds Site 

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