Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival

Be a part of the 3rd Annual Durango Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival March 20- 22, 2015, in Durango, Colorado. World-renowned performers will be Swingin' It Up at the historic Strater Hotel for three entertaining days filled with live music, silent film comedies, dance lessons, after hours parties, and more! Buy Your Ragtime Festival Tickets Here

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Adam Swanson at Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalAdam Swanson, Festival Music Director who currently attends Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, is rapidly becoming known as one of the world’s foremost performers and historians of ragtime and early American popular music. Although he is only twenty-one years old, he has been a featured performer and lecturer at ragtime and jazz festivals across the United States. Adam is the youngest three-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest, held in Peoria, Illinois. In 2007, he appeared alongside the late John Arpin at the Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival in the Republic of Hungary and has also toured Switzerland. Adam made his New York debut in Carnegie Hall at the age of nineteen, where he performed with multi-platinum-selling artist Michael Feinstein. Recently, Adam was invited to play at the prestigious Cinecon Classic Film Festival at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood as well as the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C. Adam enjoys working with other musicians and has recorded albums with pianist Frederick Hodges, former rock star Ian Whitcomb, and legendary 1950s recording artist Johnny Maddox, who is one of Adam’s greatest influences. Adam’s recordings have been used on the CBC TV show Murdoch Mysteries. He performs every summer in the Diamond Belle Saloon at the historic Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado. He has studied piano with Waleed Howrani, a graduate of the Moscow State Conservatory, and is now in his fourth year of college under the tutelage of Dr. Lisa Campi, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. Adam is also an avid rail-fan, and he collects antique sheet music,
records, and piano rolls.

Danny Coots at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival

Danny Coots started playing drums in 1964 at the age of six in northern New York. From that time he has studied with Nick Baffaro, Rich Holly, Alan Koffman, and Jim Peteresak in percussion. Danny continued his education at Crane School of Music and St. Lawrence University. He became adjunct faculty at St. Lawrence University, Clarkson University, and Potsdam State University from the mid-1970s into the 1990s, while traveling and performing with such jazz greats as Herb Ellis, Will Alger, Spiegle Willcox, Mimi Hines, Phil Ford, Bob Darch, and Pearl Kaufman. In 1995, Danny moved to make his home in Nashville, Tennessee. There he joined the Jack Daniels Silver Cornet Band for five years and helped to found the Titan Hot Seven. At the same time, he played and recorded with such artists as Randy Reinhart, John Sheridan, Neville Dickie, Bob Shultz, Ken Peplowski, Dan Barrett, Allen Vache, Vince Giordano, and Rebecca Kilgore. Danny has recorded extensively in Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles on over seventy recordings, including the 2005 Grammy-winning compilation Beautiful Dreamer—The Songs of Stephen Foster. He has performed throughout the world, having appeared in ninety


Bill Edwards at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalBill Edwards who attended Fort Lewis College, widely known in the music world as "Perfessor" Bill, has been involved with ragtime since the age of five when he discovered it on recordings of the 1950s lying around the house. As a young child, Bill quickly took hold of the pianoa, and was soon demonstrating his skills at The Old Mill, Merrily Merrily, and Yes Sir That's My Baby. By the age of eleven, Bill was equally versed in Beethoven, Bacharach, Beatles, and Bawdy Ragtime songs. By fifteen, he had learned half of the Scott Joplin catalog and most of Elton John's, and he also learned piano tuning and repair. Bill has been performing professionally for the majority of his life; from his early days in Durango, Colorado, at the Diamond Belle Saloon to a wide variety of concert and festival venues over the past two decades, often as a headliner. He is also a collector of ragtime era sheet music focusing on both the content and the artwork. His website, ragpiano.com, contains everything ragtime from articles on playing and collecting to ephemera such as 1950s ragtime artists and a vast array of original composer biographies. Bill has performed for the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, near his Northern Virginia home. He has published one book on composer E.T. Paull, and is near publication on two books about female and male ragtime era composers. Bill will always regard his tenure living in Durango and attending FLC as instrumental in his long career.


Frederick Hodges at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalFrederick Hodges a native Californian, is hailed by the press as one of the best jazz and ragtime pianists in the world and sought after by today's foremost orchestras, festivals, conductors, and collaborative musicians. His artistry, virtuosity, and charisma have brought him to the world's most renowned stages. Classically trained as a concert pianist, starting at the age of eight, Frederick has established a reputation as a truly versatile artist equally sought after as soloist, singer, guest soloist with the California Pops Orchestra, and dance band pianist with Don Neely's Royal Society Jazz Orchestra. At twenty, while still an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley, he joined Don Neely's Royal Society Jazz Orchestra as pianist. Frederick has enjoyed a career playing solo piano for society parties and holding down steady engagements at legendary San Francisco establishments such as L'Etoile in the Huntington Hotel, Masons in the Fairmont Hotel, and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. His extensive repertoire includes all the best ragtime, stride, and novelty piano solo pieces. He has appeared on national television, radio, and in several Hollywood films and is also a much sought-after silent film accompanist for both live performances and on DVD. Frederick performs regularly at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum and has participated in many prestigious festivals including in Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the WestCoast Ragtime Festival, the Blind Boone Festival in Columbia Missouri, the Templeton Ragtime Festival at Mississippi State University, the El Segundo Ragtime Festival, and the Sedalia Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. At age seventeen, he won the prestigious Music Teachers of California Young Artist Award.


Max Keenlyside at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalMax Keenlyside is a dazzling pianist and formidable composer, and has made an auspicious entry into the music world. Born in 1991 and starting in music at the age of ten, he has written and performed music in ragtime, stride, and classical styles, gaining a reputation as a top young artist in his field. In 2009, Max represented Prince Edward Island in the National Artist's Program, held in the conjunction with the Canada Games. A favorite at jazz and ragtime events around the world, he has headlined at the Scott Joplin, West Coast Ragtime, and Blind Boone festivals. While equally at home in ragtime and classical styles, Max is especially lauded for his stride and traditional jazz chops. These demanding, two-handed and rich piano styles were crafted by the likes of "Jelly Roll" Morton, Fats Waller, and James P. Johnson; Max plays them all with a stylistic flair and an ear for detail. Having composed since elementary school, Max's compositions have garnered critical acclaim. He wrote the concert march processional music for his own high school graduation, and his "Northern Lights Rag" has become a fixture on the ragtime scene. In addition to festivals, Max regularly plays solo concerts and has given a program for a live audience on CBC Radio. His debut release, KeenlyStride, was issued in 2010 on the Rivermont label, followed by Mostly Max in 2012. Max currently performs around North America, and is composing his first Symphony for orchestra.


Bob Seeley at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalBob Seeley is known internationally as one of the world's premier boogie piano players. Born and raised in Detroit, Bob is a classically-trained pianist whose early discovery of boogie woogie is our blessing. He learned boogie, stride, and ragtime from recordings and folios. Among his great influences are Pat Flowers; Fats Waller's protégé; and the boogie pioneer Meade Lux Lewis - one of the three giants of boogie woogie (along with Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson). Bob watched Pat Flowers through the alley doorway of Bakers Keyboard Lounge when he was too young to enter the establishment, and his relationship with Lewis started in an equally unusual fashion. Bob says, "I met Meade Lux Lewis after he played in Detroit. He invited me and my friends to a house party where he was playing. We beat Lewis there and I started playing one of his songs called Chicago Flyer. As he came up the walk he asked, "Who's that stealing all my stuff?" From that beginning, Bob says, a friendship developed through the 1950s and 1960s and shows its influence in his playing today. He also met and played piano with Art Tatum, who reportedly was duly impressed with the music of the relative youngster. Well-versed in classic blues, Seeley worked for a while as accompanist to Sippie Wallace, the great blues vocalist who was rediscovered in the 1980s. He has played Carnegie Hall several times and many major venues throughout Europe. Bob was a fixture at the piano bar at Charlie's Crab in a Detroit suburb, where he entertained the locals and visiting dignitaries for over 32 years. He has released a number of CDs, including collaborations with Mr. B (Mark Lincoln Braun) and with Boogie Bob Baldori.


Todd Robbins at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalTodd Robbins, Master of Ceremonies and Magician is a New York City based performer that has spent decades specializing in arcane forms of popular entertainment, offbeat amusements, and intriguing deceptions. He is renowned for his work with Coney Island and the sideshow, magic, circus, ragtime piano and traditional jazz, medicine shows, and burlesque. Recently Todd was seen in the acclaimed off-Broadway theater show Play Dead. He says, "It is a joyous evening of true ghost stories about real people and unholy resurrection that I created with Teller (of Penn & Teller)." Todd is also one of the partners in Magical Nights Inc., the producers of New York's longest running magic show Monday Night Magic and its sister show Magical Nights at Feinstein's. He is the author of the cult classic book The Modern Con Man: How to Get Something for Nothing and the creator of the companion Modern Con Man DVD Collection. Todd is featured in the celebrated documentary American Carny: True Tales from the Circus Sideshow and can be seen all over YouTube and found on Facebook.




Lacey Black the the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalLacey Black was born and raised in Durango and learned how to play piano from her mother, a well-known area music teacher. Her first professional show was in Silverton, Colorado, where she played honky-tonk and ragtime in the Bent Elbow Saloon and Restaurant in the summer of 2000, Grand Imperial, and Grumpy’s Saloon. Lacey graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango in 2006 with degrees in music performance and education. She has taught at Silverton Public School, Fort Lewis College as an adjunct professor, and for nearly nine years as a private piano teacher. Lacey has released several CDs and is the founder of the band Red Rhapsody, with whom she produced two full-length CDs of all original music. Her song “For You,” was second-runner-up in the International Songwriting Competition in 2007. Currently, Lacey performs mostly solo around the United States, and can be found performing with Tim Sullivan and Narrow Gauge.



Frank LiVolsi at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalFrank LiVolsi is a pianist and composer from Rhode Island who specializes in ragtime and early jazz. Beginning his musical education at the Knapp School of Music under the instruction of Mrs. Julia Tombello, Frank received classical training and discovered a passionate interest in ragtime during his early teen years. Frank made his ragtime festival debut in 2011, performing at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri. Since then Frank has appeared at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California; the Blind Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival in Columbia, Missouri; and the Eau Claire Ragtime Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Frank is currently a graduate student researcher of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics at the University of Rhode Island. He is also a faculty member at his alma mater, the Knapp School of Music, teaching ragtime piano.

Domingo Mancuello at the Durango Ragtime and Early Jazz FestivalDomingo Mancuello has been playing piano since he was six and working with his piano teacher since the age of seven at which time he started developing ragtime versions of the songs in his beginner piano book. Domingo made his first public début at the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest in 2013, winning fourth place. He has played in the Central Pennsylvania Ragtime Festival and been heartily welcomed into a community of stellar and accepting musicians. Domingo currently attends the University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he majors in theatre with a focus in Directing.