In March, the Rhythm Runners came to town for an amazing week of concerts, dances and a studio recording. Thank you to everyone who helped make it happen!! During this trip, we went into the KPLU studios for a live on-air interview and performance. KNKX just put it up on line! Check it out here:
Earshot Jazz Magazine wrote a great article about the upcoming Rhythm Runners concerts.
Read it below or Online
Various venues, WA
Greg Ruby and The Rhythm Runners will perform unrecorded songs by Seattle jazz pioneer Frank D. Waldron in upcoming Pacific Northwest performances, including concerts on March 23 at Century Ballroom and March 24 at Cornish College of the Arts.
The Rhythm Runners’ inception launched from a chance meeting in 2012 between Seattle jazz guitarist Greg Ruby and New York multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman and their mutual love of Prohibition Era Jazz. The two musicians soon joined forces with New York trumpeter Gordon Au, trombonist Charlie Halloran and bassist Cassidy Holden both from New Orleans, and Bellingham drummer Julian MacDonough.
With the Rhythm Runners in mind, Greg Ruby began a project in 2014 to commemorate Frank D. Waldron – saxophonist, cornetist, composer, bandleader, and teacher to Quincy Jones, Buddy Catlett, and others. What Ruby discovered was that Waldron left behind a singular, important artifact from his early life: Syncopated Classic, a collection of compositions published in 1924 intended for saxophone pedagogy.
Ruby began making arrangements of the music found within Syncopated Classic, finding himself relocating missing pieces from a weathered photocopy of the 32-page document. Supported by 4Culture grants, Ruby additionally put together a complete history of Waldron’s life, presented lectures at Seattle Public Libraries in February, and now is performing his reinterpretations of all nine compositions found within the book.
“Waldron’s work was an instant connection to the realm I was already interested in,” says Ruby, inspired by Django Reinhardt, thirties-era jazz, and the vast playground of vintage styles including late ragtime. “The perimeters and aesthetics of early jazz make for an exciting time period in music. In many ways, the music had not yet been codified; all the rules hadn’t been written quite yet….The music itself requires a level of seriousness for execution, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
Ruby describes his findings in Syncopated Classic as complete sketches, originally written in standard notation with a treble melody line and piano accompaniment. “The intention of the composer is very clear throughout,” says Ruby, noting that all the necessary information needed to detect intricate countermelodies, bass action, and rhythmic obscurities is present in the manuscript.
Waldron’s Syncopated Classic serves as a rare and immediate connection to the roots of Seattle jazz. From composing and teaching in his studio at 1142 Jackson Street to fronting the Odean Jazz Orchestra at the Nanking Café in downtown Seattle in the 1920s, Waldron’s influence is embedded into the rich narrative of our city.
Ruby notes that Waldron surely would have received more due credit during his lifetime had he migrated east to flourishing jazz scenes, making his rare compositions that much more valuable to Seattleites. “Local musicians should be playing these songs because they are part of our heritage,” he says.
An acclaimed composer himself, Ruby was able to recognize the brilliance of Waldron’s music and repurpose it with the best modern ensemble Ruby could envision for the vintage era. Audiences of Greg Ruby and The Rhythm Runners’ upcoming shows should expect cleverly crafted tunes and an air of unabashed optimism, unmistakably resurrected from Seattle’s songbook of the roaring twenties.
– Halynn Blanchard
Lainey Buchignani’s video of “Scofflaw” won second place in the 2015 Jazz Dance Film Festival! We filmed it July 2015 at Union Station in Seattle and it premiered at the 2015 Seattle Lindy Exchange. Congratulations and thank you, Lainey.
Filmmaker: Lainey Buchignani
Participants: Lainey Buchignani; Leeds Main; Greg Ruby; Rakesh Malik; Kirsten Zeller; Brandon Truesdell; Taylor Stender; Ben White; Ariel Goh; Carlmichael Delica; Yifan Song; Logan Chinn; Anna Dypold; Jeremy Bailey; Meg Rose; Aaron Lewis; Kathryn Hjelte; Lukas Ng; Sean Dunn; Mark Henderson; Yulia Kolesnikova; Calico Goodrich; Emily Youngblom
Musicians: Greg Ruby; Gordon Au; Dennis Lichtman; Charlie Halloran; Cassidy Holden
Come Join the Greg Ruby 4 about the historic Virginia V Steamship for the flagship sailing of South Lake Union swing!!
Saturday, October 10th, 2015
The historic 1922 Virginia V steamship!
Historic Ships Wharf – 860 Terry Ave N – Seattle, WA
* 8pm: Drop-in Absolute Beginner Dance Lesson,
* 8:30pm – 11:30pm: Live Music & Dancing (and dance performances!)
Greg Ruby & band
Vintage style attire (1930s-1940s) encouraged! Nautical attire is EVEN BETTER!
Isis Music Hall is excited to present West Coast Gypsy Jazz musicians Greg Ruby (Seattle) and Evan Price (San Francisco) in a rare Asheville appearance. In 2010, Price—a two-time GRAMMY -winning violinist best known for his work with the Hot Club of San Francisco and the Turtle Island Quartet—collaborated with Ruby on a recording of Django/Grappelli-inspired compositions. The result was a CD titled, Look Both Ways, which subsequently reached # 1 on the Roots Music Reports Jazz chart. Drawing on his experience with Seattle-based gypsy jazz ensembles, Pearl Django and Hot Club Sandwich, Ruby has made several CD’s on his own to critical and popular acclaim. Come join the party as this duo unites for a first-ever public performance!
“Swinging Prohibition-era jazz laced with Gypsy jazz-inspired guitar solos thanks to Pearl Django alumn Ruby. ‘Dewdropper’s Dream’ is indeed dreamy, while the title track is rife with hot six-string riffs. Both Satchmo and Django would be proud.”
88.5 KPLU has been playing tracks from the new Rhythm Runners CD – Washington Hall Stomp. Yesterday, they played Humdinger and today they played the Frank D. Waldron composition, Pretty Doll. Thank you Dick Stein and KPLU!
The Rhythm Runners will be in the Pacific Northwest for three CD release events in April!
Tuesday, April 14 9pm
East Side Stomp at the Kirkland Dance Center
835 7th Ave
Wednesday, April 15 9:30pm
Century Ball Room (West Room)
915 E Pine S