Charleston Rag – 1972

Eubie Blake

The ragtime pianist plays the first song he ever composed

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Eubie Blake always claimed that he was born in 1883 (after his death it was found that he was actually born in 1887) and that he composed “Charleston Rag” in 1899.

Whether the latter was true, Blake was the last living ragtime composer from the classic period, and he had a remarkable comeback that started in 1969 and continued until his death at age 96 (rather than 100).

Eubie Blake was a joyful and colorful performer who loved playing before audiences as is obvious from his 1972 appearance at the Berlin Jazz Festival.

Here he is playing an energetic version of his “Charleston Rag” at the age of 85.

-Scott Yanow


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