A quick housekeeping note: there will be no blog post on Thursday. I intend to sleep late, gorge myself on turkey and the usual trimmings, swill far too much crockpot spiced cider, and not even think about writing. Normal service will resume on Friday.
The West Coast Ragtime Festival was excellent, despite–or perhaps in spite of–the looming clouds of smoke from the Camp Fire, a mere hour’s drive north. Not, I hasten to add, that anyone ignored the fire and its effects. The music was good, the festival seemed better organized than last year, and the hotel staff was on the ball. (As any regular convention-goer in any field can tell you, the facility staff can make or break a convention.)
Danny Coots–that’s him just to the left of center, behind the largely-invisible drum kit–is…uh…hang on. Am I the only one who sees that? Wait, let me run the image through some TV-style computer enhancement.
The Sacramento Marriott Rancho Cordova: come for the music, stay to watch the performers eaten by giant lizard-monsters…
Ahem. As I was saying, Danny Coots must be the hardest-working performer in ragtime today. I swear he not only did all of his own sets, but sat in on every other set all weekend. And yes, I’m well aware that means he had to be in three at once. Maybe he’s triplets. Or clones.
Excellent drummer. Makes anyone he plays with at least twice as good. Buy his records: he’s gotta feed all three of himself.
Speaking of the hotel, questionable choices in décor aside, they did an excellent job of hosting, not only the festival, but the residents of an assisted living facility burned out of Paradise. (And parenthetical kudos to the kind donor who made it possible for the displaced folks to attend the festival.) That’s what people need right now, not snide comments about forest management.
And, on a related note, Diego Bustamante, also a resident of Paradise, did several beautiful sets. If he can play that well at nineteen, in the face of such disaster, he’s going to be a talent to watch over the next few decades.
Also, be on the watch for “Titanic: A Musical Journey”. Contrary to modern popular belief, Celine Dion was not on the Titanic. Nor was the music heard on the film’s soundtrack typical of what was actually played at the time. Barbara Chronowski’s production–featuring Adam Swanson on the piano–aims to correct the record, and largely succeeds. I can’t imagine the two performances over the weekend will be the only ones.