Wally Rose - piano
Appearing on the bill at the "New Orleans, Ragtime and Stride" program as part of the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival, outstanding ragtime pianist Wally Rose performed with intricate, two-handed facility and a mastery of the idiom. His brief set at New York's Philharmonic Hall consisted of flawless readings of James Scott's "New Era Rag," Eubie Blake's "Chevy Chase" and Mark Jonza's giddy "The Lion Tamer Rag." Rose's solo performance came six months before the release of the popular Paul Newman-Robert Redford movie, The Sting, which triggered a ragtime revival and a rediscovery of the music of the pioneering ragtime composer Scott Joplin.
The Oakland native (born October 2, 1914) and mainstay on the San Francisco jazz scene broke into the music business in 1938 with a dance band led by Harry Barris (formerly of Paul Whiteman's singing group, The Rhythm Boys, featuring a young Bing Crosby). In 1939 he joined Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band and remained with that trad jazz group until it disbanded in 1950. There followed stints in trad jazz bands led by Bob Scobey and Turk Murphy. He recorded for the Jazz Man label through the 1940s and in 1953 released the influential Ragtime Piano Masterpieces on the Columbia label. Rose continued performing at ragtime festivals through the '60s and '70s. His last album, 1982's Revisited for the Stomp Off label, came after a 26-year gap in recording. Rose died on January 12, 1997 at age 82. (Bill Milkowski)