Re: [EliteSyncopations] Re: Ben Harney
The attached piano roll label ought to set some folks a-quiver. Before anyone gets too excited, its not as advertised......although the image is real, not photoshopped. I have the roll in my possession.
--- On Sun, 4/8/12, jazzpianist <perfbill@...> wrote:
From: jazzpianist <perfbill@...>
Subject: [EliteSyncopations] Re: Ben Harney
Date: Sunday, April 8, 2012, 10:32 PM
Two of the earlier (probably not THE earliest) clips that I found on Harney were the following, as cited in my article on him at http://ragpiano.com/comps/bharney.shtml. While there may have been earlier mentions, these are what I found in the context of syncopated music, so the first of that kind in New York City as far as I was able to ascertain:
The first mention of Harney in Manhattan is found in February, 1896 when he was playing at the famed 14th Street theater of Tony Pastor, the most prominent vaudeville venue at that time, which also took in a young Mike Bernard within a few months as a star attraction...
A February 1, 1896 review in the New York Clipper notes that his act was polished and well balanced, and that his dialect singing was "a worthy copy of the subject he mimics." A February 22, 1896 review in the same paper said that Harney "jumped into immediate favor through the medium of his genuinely clever plantation negro [sic] imitations and excellent piano playing."
I would have to go back to these articles to see if 'originator of rag-time piano' was in them. I would imagine, however, that such hyperbole was more from Bernard, or perhaps a handler, than from the press of that time, given that the word 'rag-time' was virtually unknown to the public at large at the time, and only nominally by musicians - at least white musicians - until perhaps the end of 1896 or even mid 1897. I could be slightly off on this, but articles in the Clipper, Music Trade Review, and other similar papers oriented toward music tend to lead me in this direction.
- Bryan,I suspect the same, but it could be interesting to compare a few measures.PaulWhether hand played or arranged, it'd be interesting to compare the roll to other Billings-made rolls of the same title. I suspect there's little or no difference.