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--Bob Seely

Ragtime Bash '99


With all the Millennium hoopla, why not celebrate a century of ragtime?

Mike Montgomery was the first pianist in the annual Holiday Ragtime Bash at the Unitarian Church in Ann Arbor on December 12 with "Maple Leaf Rag," which was published 100 years ago. Montgomery also was the genial and informative host for the evening, which included a number of pianists. Bill Bolcom played another number from 1999, Eubie Blake's "The Charleston Rag." Jim Dapogny treated us to four more and then invited up vocalist Susan Chastain for "Everybody Loves My Baby." Rick Grafton from Toledo did a spontaneous fill-in to thunderous applause just before break.

The second half mainly featured Terry Parrish from Indianapolis and Detroit's own Bob Seeley. Seeley's marvelous technique and showmanship brought down the house as usual. He mentioned he was one of five boogie-woogie pianists left in the U.S.; more food for thought at the turn of the Millennium?

photograph by Lars Björn