Recording Pioneers

R. S. Baker has appeared at several Ragtime festivals as a pianist and lecturer. Her particular interest lies in the brown wax cylinder era of the recording industry, and in the study of the earliest studio pianists, such as Fred Hylands, Frank P. Banta, and Frederick W. Hager.

The Remarkable Mr. Porter

Any seasoned record collector is likely aware of the baritone Steve Porter. He was a main fixture of the famous American Quartet, and a common

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More Notes on Jimmy Hager

Last year, in this column was an article on drummer Jimmy Hager, bandmaster Fred Hager’s brother, but since that publication, more has been discovered about

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Hager beefsteak(1911) detail

Boston Brass and Beefsteak

In 1910, a new phonograph company emerged in Boston, it was founded upon a few generous donations from local elites. Their donations set the company

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Hager’s Two Dollar Overtures

In 1903, two of the major disc record companies ventured into unexplored territory: long playing records. The Victor talking machine company and Columbia phonograph company

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Bass Drum Conundrum

In the 19th century, the bass drum in military bands was essential. The use of bass drums continued into the earliest days of recording, but

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Justin Ring and Fred Hager in 1902.

Milo and Rega

Justin Ring had a lot of love to give in his long life, as he cared for so many close friends and family. Later in

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Hagers orchestra caricature(1902)

The Beaux of Bronx Park

In the 1890s and 1900s, military bands were all the rage. From Gilmore’s band to your village community band, they were loved by everyone. One

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Hylands and Held’s troupe enroute to England in 1913

Fred Hylands in Vaudeville

For researchers, scouring newspaper archives is an essential, yet at times tedious, process. Hours spent reading through century-old papers may yield only a small nugget

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Banta at Edison c.1899

The Original Frank Banta

Record collectors may be familiar with the name Frank Banta—a name usually associated with hot novelty and jazz piano of the 1920s, and rightfully so.

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