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Caprice Rag (1917)
James P. Johnson
James Price Johnson
(February 1st 1894 - November 17th 1955)
This piano roll was produced in New York City in 1917 featuring James P. Johnson at the keys.
(The music is synced to a trolley ride down Market St. in San Francisco circa 1905.)
*"Caprice Rag" was composed by James P. Johnson's and became one of his earliest hits. Sometimes subtitled 'A Unique Musical Conception' he produced pianola rolls of the tune no less than three times in 1917 the first was issued by the Aeolian Company of New York in May and the second was made for the Standard Music Company of New Jersey two months later.
Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on February 1st 1894 James Price Johnson grew up listening to the ragtime of Scott Joplin and grew himself to become a talented pianist and composer.
In 1914 Johnson was working locally as accompanist to singer Lillie Mae Wright (whom he later married) but by 1920 he had blossomed into a star pianist whose celebrity at the time was comparable to that of Eubie Blake.
James P. Johnson was one of the first black artists to commit his playing to piano roll.
He made dozens of player piano rolls documenting his own ragtime compositions, went on to pioneer a style of piano known as stride, and is commonly acknowledged as the "Father of Stride Piano".
James P. Johnson's 1921 recordings of his original compositions, "Harlem Strut", "Keep Off the Grass", and "Carolina Shout", were the very first genuine representations of jazz piano ever committed to disc.
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