An American Original
R4’s latest CD (recorded live July 10, 2015) features a balance of uptempo Tin Pan Alley rags, classic ragtime, early blues and formative jazz. The ensemble’s first live album, “An American Original” also includes a spoken historical narrative by executive director William Pemberton.
A fully adjustable, cotton twill cap featuring the R4 logo.
Animal Fair features uplifting and exuberant animal songs from the ragtime, blues and early jazz eras that appeal to children and adults. Familiar traditional songs like “Tiger Rag,” “Kitten on the Keys” and “The Animal Fair” are combined with forgotten hits like “Rhinoceros Rag,” “Chasing the Chickens” and “Bull Frog Blues.” Listeners will hear the R4 orchestra accompanied by elephants, lions, dogs, pigs, cats and chickens. Animal Fair also features two new compositions, written specifically for the recording. Catherine McMichael’s “Warthog Stride” was inspired by a trip she took to Botswana, South Africa, where she saw warthogs being chased by a pack of lionesses. “Elephant Rag,” by R4 musical director emeritus William Hayes, is based on the melody from Camille Saint Seans’ “Carnival of the Animals.”
Accompanying the lively music on the CD is a 12 page booklet containing original artwork of painter Diane Rosecrans Pemberton and liner notes written by director William Pemberton. The liner notes introduce children to ragtime and its place in history as our nation’s original indigenous popular music. The controversy surrounding the music when it was first introduced and the discrimination faced by African Americans during the ragtime era are discussed in an age-appropriate manner. The result is an entertaining and educational recording for all ages.
Detroit was home to Jerome H. Remick & Co., one of the largest and most important music publishers of the ragtime era. Ragtime Detroit highlights Michigan’s prominent role in shaping our nation’s musical heritage. Enjoy early hits by the Detroit bandleaders and composers Fred Stone, Harry Guy and Charles “Doc” Cook and contemporary rags by William Hayes and William Bolcom.
The Red Back Book
Our debut, groundbreaking recording from 2005 features the first (and currently only) complete recording of the legendary, near mythical Red Back Book collection. Missouri publisher John Stark issued a limited number of these ragtime orchestrations featuring some of classic ragtime’s most influential compositions. Scott Joplin’s monumental “Maple Leaf Rag,” “The Entertainer,” “The Easy Winners,” and “The Cascades” are included, as well as Joseph Lamb’s “Sensation” and James Scott’s “Grace and Beauty.” R4 partnered with The Historic New Orleans Collection to recreate this rare collection of outstanding American treasures. Complete with an extensive historical narrative written by R4 director William Pemberton.