Skip to main content
  • Janice Lee, Director
  • Ex. Producer: Will Nix Producers: Charles Hobson, Producer
  • Terry Waldo, Producer
  • and Janice Lee, Producer

Title card in front of sheet music

About the Project

Before Jazz, Swing and Rock & Roll, there was Ragtime. This wonderful groundbreaking music is all but forgotten and its story remains untold. This Is Ragtime: The Birth of American Music offers a long-overdue look and listen to America's first truly original popular music. From its often controversial roots in slave dances, minstrel shows and the bordellos of the late 19th Century to its explosion into the pop music scene in the
20th Century, Ragtime provided the foundation for Tin Pan Alley Pop, Jazz, and even Rock & Roll. This documentary tells the whole story and recreates the music of Ragtime's legendary composers such as Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Irving Berlin and Eubie Blake. The program features new performances by some of today's top musical entertainers including Wynton Marsalis and Ragtime virtuoso, Terry Waldo, the protégé of Eubie Blake. This documentary will not only preserve this spectacular musical tradition for generations who have known and enjoyed
it in clubs, theatres and films, but also introduce new generations to the fun that lies in its very heart.