To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the original recording of “Tiger Rag”, contemporary jazz pianist Barron Ryan has released his rendition of the jazz standard.
The song was originally recorded by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. It is one of the most recorded jazz compositions of all time. In 2003, the 1918 ODJB recording of “Tiger Rag” was placed on the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry.
“Tiger Rag” became a standard, with over 136 cover versions by 1942 alone. Famous artists who covered the song included Art Tatum, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra (in a version with lyrics), Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, and Louis Armstrong, who released the song at least three times as a single. Barron Ryan hopes to introduce the classic to a new generation of jazz enthusiasts.
“’Tiger Rag’ is my equivalent to summiting Mt. Everest or winning Olympic gold,” states Barron. “This particular rendition, recorded originally by Art Tatum, lasts two and a half minutes but required over 500 hours of practice to master. It’s the most difficult piece of music I’ve ever learned, and to have conquered it means to me that there’s no musical challenge too big for me to handle. It’s also special that my album featuring ‘Tiger Rag’ is coming out exactly 100 years its first recording by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917.”
The preparation to record this tune was arduous to say the least. Barron began the process five years ago, and it nearly ended his performing career. That’s because the challenges ‘Tiger Rag’ present are so great. “I didn’t know how to approach them. In my frustration, I made an ill-fated practice decision that partially impaired my playing ability for eighteen months and threatened to become permanent.” Thankfully, he returned to full strength, after which he was determined to conquer the one tune that almost conquered him.
To Watch Barron Perform “Tiger Rag” click here:youtu.be/2DxIEm0gwOw
Barron discusses the process of performing “Tiger Rag”:youtu.be/acjbcRIAAOM
For more information, visit barronryan.com.
About Barron Ryan
Barron Ryan’s love for music has always been divided. The son of two musicians, he grew up in a house filled with the sounds of artists ranging from Beethoven to James Brown. So when it comes to his own performing, he’s not content drawing on just one influence. He combines them all into a musical adventure that’s vintage yet fresh, historical yet hip, classic yet cool. After beginning piano lessons at age four with his father, Barron seemed destined for a career in music. He excelled in performing throughout his middle and high schools in Tulsa, OK, then continued to impress his peers and instructors as a piano performance major at The University of Oklahoma. Everything did not come up roses, however, as Barron was then rejected from all the music conservatories you might be impressed by. Disheartened and a little annoyed, he briefly gave up on the piano in pursuit of a satirical hip-hop career. But due to a favorable result in a piano competition that sent its winner to perform in Israel, that project was graciously short-lived. Thanks to the Israel concert tour, Barron found his artistic voice. He discovered the joy of jazz- and ragtime-inspired concert music (found on his debut album, Classical with Attitude), and is learning from great jazz pianists by replaying their solos (available on his new release, The Masters’ Apprentice). What’s next? You’ll have to wait to find out, but rest assured that in all Barron Ryan’s music, Classic Meets Cool.