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The New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra

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The New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra was formed in 1967 with the encouragement of Pearl Records to perform, as written, rediscovered orchestrations of classic ragtime. Interest resulting from the recording led to engagements at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and Heritage fairs of 1970 and 1971. The orchestra also participated in the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival and were filmed as part of “A New Orleans Tribute to Louis Armstrong,” a movie commemorating Louis Armstrong’s 7th birthday appearance at Newport.

The press responded enthusiastically: “The New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra is a seven-piece group organized by Lars Edegran, a young Swedish pianist who gained access to the arrangements played by a band popular in the early years of the century, led by John Robichaux… dance music that might have been played at those gala balls of the 90s… captured the grace, stateliness and delightful rhythmic flow of an all but-forgotten music… (New York Times)

The repertoire of the orchestra includes not only “classic rag” numbers published in the “Red back book” but also marches, cakewalks, waltzes, blues and other New Orleans jazz numbers_ all having elements of ragtime. With few exceptions this repertoire was acquired from the John Robichaux Collection of orchestrations at Tulane University’s Archive of new Orleans Jazz. Violinist Robichaux (1866-1939) was leader of he New Orleans’ best known society orchestra and his library of over 7,000 pieces consisted of all types of popular music from that period.

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