Ragtime Research Assign

Pick a performer (singer, band leader, composer) from the early Jazz period, Ragtime thru early 1930’s that would best represent your personal story.

Post them to the course blog and explain:

1.Why does this performer connect to your life story?

2.What type of visual style would best represent your peformer…must be within the time period of 1900 – 1930.

Post (in comments section) Next Class before 2pm! Worth 1pt towards participation

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8 Responses to Ragtime Research Assign

  1. antoinettebrennan says:

    Sadly, I didn’t really find a performer who best represented my life story, however, I was greatly intrigued by the biography of Duke Ellington.

    1. I relate to Duke Ellington the most mainly due to the childhood love of baseball and feeling a lack in artistic talent during adolescence. I can also relate to having a parent who really reinforced manners when growing up. That’s as far as any connections go between me and the artist, my life not nearly as interesting as his. Duke Ellington’s ambition and motivation is quite awe-inspiring though and I highly recommend reading more about him.

    2. I have to say, with his fast-paced music, I have difficulty seeing any other visual style than geometric abstract art when it comes to Duke Ellington’s work. The busy outline of geometric abstract goes well with the quick, rapid styling of Ellington, keeping the viewer’s eye bouncing around the artwork much like how one’s foot cannot stop bouncing to Duke Ellington’s work. The bright colors used in abstract art is also akin to the upbeat tone used in a lot of Ellington’s work.

    Ellington’s It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)

    Ellington’s Cocktail For Two

    With all the recent blog posts about female artists, I would like to shine a spotlight on Mary Lou Williams, a female jazz pianist, arranger, and composer whose career spanned 1920 to 1981, when she sadly passed. I highly recommend reading about her because she is quite the talented individual.

  2. ejnorth21 says:


    Nobody by Bert Williams sounds like its about not helping people in poverty, but to me it also sounded like depression. When your depressed you often feel like no one cares about your struggles or wants to help you, and the world itself is against you. In this interpretation, “Nobody” also refers to yourself, because you believe that when you have problems it isn’t even worth it to help yourself. I have depression and this song sounds like my inner voice that I have to constantly fight against. “When life seems full of clouds and rain, And I am full of nothin’ and pain, Who soothes my thumping, bumping brain?, Nobody”

  3. Kara Porter says:

    I have chosen the composer, publisher, and teacher Sadie Koninsky, although she often published music under a male pseudonym Jerome Hartman. During this time composing ragtime was not seen as a very lady-like activity. I resonate with Sadie Koninsky as a woman growing up in a patriarchal society, where the idea of gender roles and gender-based abilities are still a prevalent issue. As a woman who has a history in the STEM field, I was often talked down to and underestimated, like my opinion or input did not hold as much value as the man’s sitting next to me. This I feel is a big reason why Sadie went by Jerome, so that her work and efforts were not pushed aside solely because people hear the female name Sadie.

    Eli Green’s Cake Walk:

    I think the art style that best represents her works are that similar to Wassily Kandinsky’s. An artist he is credited as one of the pioneers of Abstract art, and categorized into the Expressionism movement as well. His abstract works are bright and full of color, with strong, dark lines guiding your eye across the piece. Intimate details come forth you only notice once you spend some time with the painting. Patterns and repetition of these details throughout the piece feels like the melody of Sadie’s songs.

    Ex. “Composition VII” :

  4. Mohammad Saffar says:

    Jelly Roll Morton
    Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe was born on October 20, 1890 (though some sources say 1885), in New Orleans, Louisiana. The son of racially mixed Creole parents — he was a mix of African, French and Spanish — he eventually adopted the last name of his stepfather, Morton.

    Morton learned to play piano at age 10, and within a few years he was playing in the red-light district bordellos, where he earned the nickname “Jelly Roll.” Blending the styles of ragtime and minstrelsy with dance rhythms, he was at the forefront of a movement that would soon be known as “jazz.”

    1. Why does this performer connect to your life story?
    day of birth we were born on the same day on October 20
    What type of visual style would best represent your performer…must be within the time period of 1900 – 1930?picasso painting

  5. rossbullock4892 says:

    For this post, I decided to go with jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

    1. Although our overall life stories are a good bit different, I relate to Django because he came from a family of musicians (both my parents played one or more instruments throughout their lives) and he started playing music at an early age, although he switched from violin to guitar right around the age of 12 (around the same time I switched instruments as well).

    2. I feel like De Stijl would be a good representation of Django’s music. It’s simple yet layered and there’s a lot of movement happening in it even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.

  6. Carrie Bull says:

    The musician I chose is Louis Jordan. I chose him because he has a great sense of humor through his music, which is very important to me as well. His sense of humor can be seen in this song:

    I think his music would fit well with Dada because it’s lighthearted and fun.

    • Carrie Bull says:

      His music is also significant to me because my dad had a CD with his music that we listened to a lot when I was younger.

  7. oliviafelber says:

    I don’t really know about my personal story, but looking into popular jazz artists, I found Billie Holiday to be absolutely fascinating as both a person and a performer. (I believe her career truly started in the thirties into the forties, so she may be a bit late for a strict interpretation of the assignment.) Nevertheless she is considered an important figure in jazz history, so I picked her.

    Strange Fruit is a haunting ballad about lynching in the southern US. Its lyrics are straightforward and they hit hard. The song was even banned by many radio stations.

    Strange Fruit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Web007rzSOI

    It’s a beautiful song, and Holiday received both support and backlash for it.

    Her version of Summertime is also very good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J5nwuAwBQs

    It reminds me quite a lot of the swing and tone of some of the Fleischer studios animations we’ve watched with Cab Calloway. I read that it was composed by Gershwin for the opera Porgy and Bess, but that Lady Day (Billie Holiday) was the first singer to have a hit with it.

    In terms of visuals, my mind is brought back to heavy swinging movements with high contrast in terms of form and color. Something less chaotic than a Pollock, but with more form and movement than a color field painting. It has life, and a message.

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