The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Volokh Conspiracy



I have tried, generally speaking, to restrain myself from going overboard in touting my son Sam's many pianistic accomplishments, but if you like ragtime—and for goodness sake, who doesn't like ragtime?—I heartily recommend Sam's just-released recording (available on a pay-as-you-wish basis here) of piano rags. The album features performances of seven of Sam Post's original ragtime compositions, as well as some classics by Scott Joplin and William Bolcom (including two separate performances, with different improvisational flourishes, of Bolcom's truly glorious "Graceful Ghost Rag").

I've spent a good deal of this past week listening to the album, and I can tell you that the music and the performances are terrific—infectious and delightful. Ragtime may well rank as America's first great contribution to world music, and while it has fallen a bit off the radar in recent years, I smell a revival coming; when well-performed, it's awfully hard resist its many charms. Have a listen—you'll thank me!

In addition, as is Sam's custom, he's added some really interesting commentary addressing questions such as "what makes ragtime ragtime?" and "what's the difference between syncopation and swing?" and "what's the role of improvisation in ragtime performances?"

Finally if you're in Washington this weekend, you might consider joining us at an "album release" house concert on Saturday evening (details here), while those of you in the Bay Area might be interested in a similar event in San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 4 (details here).