The book analyzes the impact of African-American music in Europe, and offers biographies, discographies and filmographies of over a dozen fascinating personalities - representing the hundreds of other pioneers in their respective fields of entertainment who remain unrecognized. Detailed chronologies follow their travels from Ireland to Siberia. Contemporary reviews are quoted at length.
The book is accompanied by a CD sampler, which covers many artists that can be heard for the first time since they were originally recorded almost one hundred years ago, allowing stunning insights into a culture which is all but forgotten.
As a young, black, itinerant musician, Joplin traveled from Mississippi riverboats, gambling houses, and cafés to the great World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, perfecting his craft and absorbing the sounds and rhythms of the Midwest. He made Sedalia, Missouri, ragtime capital of the world, and his famous "Maple Leaf Rag" gave him the recognition he desired. But he still dreamed of writing music which would be taken seriously by critics throuhgout the world. Here is the story of that remarkable man, from whose pen came a steady stream of ragtime classics and the opera, Treemonisha.
"This book traces the forgotten line of development from the music of the past greats (and they were great!) right down to now." -- Dizzy Gillespie
"The definitive work on ragtime." -- Leonard Feather