Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The 16th Bohem Ragtime & Jazz Festival in Kecskemet, Hungary in March 2007 was one of John Arpin's last appearances. John passed away 6 months later of cancer. Here he was weak but vivid and his playing is marvellous as ever. He performs Joe Lamb's Ragtime Nightingale.
In terms of his legacy, Lamb's rags are still among the most played by those who are both discovering ragtime and those who have performed for a lifetime. Running with the best ideas of Joplin, he was able to develop even longer phrases throughout each section, with intricate harmonic balance in his chord progressions, and innovative use of inner melodic lines and complex syncopations as well. That he did so with as little musical training as he had, in addition to having grown up isolated from the mainstream of ragtime output and performance, makes his work all that more extraordinary. Lamb was also able to shape some fine songs and non-ragtime pieces. However, he will best be remembered by his ragtime output, a passion which kept him composing nearly to the end of his life.