Jack Rummel



Thatís Going Some

Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra

Stomp Off CD1427


Lucyís Sextette / Back Home in Tennessee / Palm Leaf Rag / Heíd Have to Get Under Ė Get Out and Get Under* / Georgia Sunset / La Rumba / Kinklets / Take Me to the Land of Jazz* / Thatís-a-Plenty / Suwanee Echoes / Baltimore Todolo / Do You Take This Woman For Your Lawful Wedded Wife?* / Jamaica Jinjer / Egyptia / American Beauty Rag / At the Moving Picture Ball* / Hilarity Rag / Dengozo / Bugle Call Rag / Red Wing / Chills and Fever Rag / Alabama Jubilee.  (*Vocal)


            The Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra, under the co-batons of Bruce Vermazen and Bob Pinsker, has released its second CD, which is good news.  Itís good for the orchestra, because they obviously enjoy the performances; itís good for the dancers, because this is definitely danceable music; and itís good for ragtime lovers, because the disc is chock-full of great ragtime and other tunes from that early era.  It also gives an affirmative answer to a question posed in the review of their first CD (ďItís A Bear!,Ē Stomp Off CD 1411), as to whether the HRO would continue or not.

            Period arrangements which favor a full orchestral sound are used throughout, giving very few opportunities for individual instruments to solo.  Tempos are uniformly appropriate and are consistent within each number, making this a perfect recording for dancers.  The vocals are pleasant and offer clever lyrics such as were popular in the early decades of the 20th century, although Do You Take This Woman For Your Lawful Wedded Wife? paints a dismal picture of marriage with much male sophomoric humor which may offend the distaff listeners.

            One-steps and two-steps predominate, but there are also foxtrots, tangos and a lovely syncopated waltz (Suwanee Echoes).  Every selection is done right, but, in addition to the waltz, I especially liked Lucyís Sextette (Harry Alford), with its moaning trombone; the happy, upbeat sounds of Hilarity Rag (James Scott); and the trumpet work on Bugle Call Rag (Eubie Blake & Carey Morgan).  Also worthy of a gold star was Pinskerís piano solo on Eubieís Baltimore Todolo!

            Well-written liner notes, intimate recorded sound and classy cover art add to the quality of this release.  Many of us were saddened when Vermazenís Chrysanthemum Ragtime Band ceased recording, so itís a pleasure that he and Pinsker have filled the void with the Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra.  Lucky are the folks who live in San Diego , for they get to dance to live performances, but the rest of us can roll back the rug, fire up a HRO disc or two and do almost as well.

            Available for $16.00 postpaid from Stomp Off Records, P.O. Box 342 , York , PA 17405 .