[Dixielandjazz] time signatures -- Johnny Guarnieri

Robert S. Ringwald robert at ringwald.com
Sat Jun 30 18:48:23 PDT 2007

I wrote:

>> Several times I heard the great pianist Johnny Guarnieri play both
>> "Lover"
>> and "The Maple Leaf Rag" in 5/4 time.  Now, that was an experience!

Bill Haesler answers:

>  Dear Bob,
> He does it on the Taz Jaz TJZ-1001 LP 'Superstride' along with 3/4 ala
> Tatum and some 4/4 stride.
> And several keys.
> Recorded  in CA July 1976.
> Wonderful.

I used to have that LP.  It was produced by three (sort of) Johnny's
proteges, Vinny Armstrong, Jim (can't remember his last name, lives in Ohio
and also plays drums), and Jim Turner, former pianist with the Great Pacific
JB and now for the Jim Cullum JB.  Thus the acronym, TAZ, the first letter 
of each of the guys last names.

They also produced two other LPs of Guarnieri's, "Stealin' Apples" and a
recording of Johnny playing Duke Ellington's music.  They sold that one to
another company who released it.

> Unfortunately he does not appear to  have ever recorded a version of
> "Maple Leaf Rag", which surprises me.
> Perhaps not.

I used to have it on cassette recorded live at our Jazz Society.  It was not
a commercial recording -- Just something I recorded myself.

He also used to do "Tiger Rag" in 5/4 time.

Another thing Johnny used to do was to play an entire song only with his 
left hand.  The first time I saw him do it, he asked for a request from the 
audience.  Someone said "Sweet Lorraine."  He began to play it, sounding 
like he was using two hands.

Gradually as people began to realize what he was doing, they started 
pointing at him for other people to look.  By the time he finished the 
piece, half the audience was standing up.

Johnny also wrote a song for me titled "Raggedy Bob."  I learned it note for
note, as it was a Rag.  I since have forgotten it and intend, one of these
days, to relearn it.

--Bob Ringwald

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