Glenn Jenks • The Complete Ragtime Works for Piano

A few disclosures are in order. 1) Though the late Glenn Jenks (1947–2016) and I met only at ragtime festivals, we communicated occasionally by phone, mail, and email. 2) He dedicated one of his rags to me: Desdemona. My recount of how that dedication came about appears on page 261. 3) I, along with Wally Rose and Peter Lundberg, collaborated with him on Sedalia Joys, which is included in the addenda of this collection. Despite personal connections to Jenks, I endeavor to consider these rags objectively, basing my comments strictly on musical values. What started Jenks on his ragtime journey? I don’t recall him ever speaking of his genesis in this area. His first rag composition is from 1972, when he was in his mid-twenties. That was before the movie The Sting (1973), which had transformed the slowly emerging Scott Joplin revival into a massive public phenomenon. But it was after the notable, best-selling Joplin recording by Joshua Rifkin, Piano Rags by Scott Joplin (Nonesuch H-71248, 1970) and the New York Public Library’s groundbreaking publication of The Collected Works of Scott Joplin (1971). Both were significant in my own ragtime journey. Prior to examining this collection, I had read through and heard many of Jenks’s rags, but there are many more in this collection that were totally new to me. The collection’s main part is composed of 34 piano rags dating from 1972
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Ed Berlin is author of King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era, now in its second edition, and many other writings on ragtime and various musical topics.

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