GET MIDI "The Mule Walk" LISTEN

Performer:John Roache
Composer:James P. Johnson
Arranged by:John Roache

This is James P. Johnson's "The Mule Walk" transcribed from his 1939 Columbia recording by Riccardo Scivales. I substituted a different introduction which I transcribed from Johnson's 1943 recording of the same piece.

Scivales in Harlem Stride Piano Solos describes Johnson's Mule Walk- "Composed about 1913, The Mule Walk is the pianistic version of an old set dance. The music of set dances (i.e. country and square dances) was one of the many musical expressions assimilated by James P. Johnson in his formulation of the Stride style. In this sense The Mule Walk (along with Carolina Shout) must be considered a prototype of Stride Piano, and an important piece in its repertory."

"The Mule Walk has an infectious rhythm, and indeed Johnson composed it while working at The Jungles Casino to accompany the "wild and comical dances" (as he defined them) of the New York blacks who had immigrated from the South (mainly from Georgia and South Carolina)."

Johnson's energetic style had its basis in ragtime which he learned in his youth. Growing up in New York City he absorbed the varitey of musical styles around him - blues, stomps, ring-shouts, barrelhouse and ragtime. By the 20's he was regarded as the "Father of Stride Piano". Johnson was jazz piano teacher to such greats as George Gershwin and "Fats" Waller.

This song has just been released on 88-note Piano Roll by Meliora Music Rolls

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