Ragtime Pianist William Mitchell, 94

WILLIAM MITCHELL
WILLIAM MITCHELL

WILLIAM MITCHELL, 94, on June 29 in Placenta, California after suffering multiple injuries from a recent fall. A stellar ragtime pianist since 1950, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of rags and could play hundreds from memory.

His style was described as lightly swinging, unpretentious and authentic. He was one of the founders of the Maple Leaf Club that merged with the Red Leaf Club in 1998. He wrote reviews for several publications and will be remembered for his love of music and his encouraging words to all who love ragtime.

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Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag almost thirty years ago and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we became The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, containing profiles from 2013-2016 will be available on Amazon soon. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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