"...how does it sound? Actually, I haven't heard any better... Try it; you'll like it!"
- Nick Taylor, from his review in The Top Liner Rag
---Read the full review HERE
"...the pianistics have been carefully crafted with suitable dynamics to give the illusion of live performances. Syncopated Odyssey is truly a remarkable achievement, both technologically and musically. No serious ragtime collector should miss it."
- Bill Mitchell, from his review in The Mississippi Rag
---Read the full review HERE
"..this is over 65 minutes of the finest, most rollicking ragtime that I've ever heard on CD. ..it's a wonderfully eclectic mix, ranging from classic rags like Joplin's "Maple Leaf" and "Chrysanthemum", to lesser-known period rags like the 1908 "Whitewash Man", through gems of the ragtime revival like Bolcom's "Tabby Cat Walk" and Isbitz's "Palmetto Rag", to the final set of six compositions by Robin Frost that are nothing less than a ragtime revelation. ..the tunes are enhanced by arrangements and a performance technique that absolutely sparkle with intelligence and skill."
- Mike Nichols, writing for Ragtime Revelry
---Read the full review HERE
"..It is obvious that there is a perfectionist at work. The pieces are of a stunning quality, however never sounding too mechanical...Syncopated Odyssey is definately worth listening to. Especially the contemporary compositions add value to the ragtime idiom."
- MidiKlavier Magazine (Dutch) Translation - Hans Spieker
"Thank you so much for [producing] your delightful CD with six of my pieces, beautifully played. I didn't know you were undertaking this project with digital and MIDI technology. Your renditions are terrific! They don't sound mechanical the way so many mechanically produced performances do. ... a thrilling CD."
- Robin Frost, composer-pianist, Santa Barbara, California
"You are truly a master of MIDI piano music. It is not easy to make MIDI files sound like real piano performances, but you did it!
I especially enjoyed your Robin Frost selections. In time, perhaps, his beautiful music will gain great recognition. Your CD certainly helps."
- Jim Turner, composer-pianist, Shadow Hills, California
"Thank you for the very listenable CD. I found it very varied and enjoyable. The entire presentation is excellent including the graphics!"
- Bernard Kalban, music publisher, Carlin America Inc., New York NY
"... The piece de resistance, so far as I am concerned, is the set of Frost rags. Of them, only Space Shuffle has been recorded before and only a few brave souls play any of the others. Their intricate, upbeat nature lends itself here especially to the MIDI technology (where one has the leisure to get all the notes in their proper places!) Robin's nonsense titles hide some very serious music much loved by his fans. Good stuff.
In short, aside from the novelty of the MIDI arrangements, the CD does have plenty to endorse it. .... the recordings are clean (as they should be with digital technology) and well arranged. Special effects are kept to a minimum and the content is well worthwhile."
- Gus Willmorth, writing for The Rag Times
"The technology behind Syncopated Odyssey is intriguing, but it's only a tool. It takes someone like John Roache to translate the technology into great, rollicking piano music."
Ed Berlin, Ragtime historian, author and lecturer
"The arrangements of new and old rags and novelty tunes are virtuoso performances by a master of the art of sequencing. His work is innovative, giving free reign to his interpretive genius. I don't dare listen to any of them late in the evening lest I be kept awake by the rhythms and countermelodies echoing in my brain long after the music has stopped. I like this stuff!!"
- George McClellan, composer-pianist, San Gabriel, California
"You are to be congratulated for the success of your effort. Coming from someone as unenthusiastic about electronic music as I am, I hope you will take it as the high compliment that it is meant to be. The painstaking work that you put in is evident."
- Hal Isbitz, composer, Santa Barbara, California
"Received your cd yesterday. I've played it a LOT. It's terrific! A Ragtime Lover's Delight."
- Bruce Cook, Orlando, Florida
"Really, really enjoy Syncopated Odyssey. On White Wash Man the tuba is a delight, incl. the flubs. You have carried perfectionism to just the right pitch!"
- Judy Lahore, Mercer Island, Washington
"Just got your CD and like it very much. Not bad for a pharmacist!"
- Steve Steinberg, New Orleans, Louisiana
"[Syncopated Odyssey] is great! I am VERY IMPRESSED, both by your sequences (as usual), the sound quality and the selected pieces. You've done a great job, I think a once in a lifetime achievement. The biggest compliment I can think of is that listening to the CD, most of the time you forget that these are edited sequences."
- Hans Spieker, aka Maximum Bob, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
"I received your CD in the mail last week; many thanks. I enjoyed it very much, particularly 'Exhiliration Rag' and 'Palmetto Rag,' neither of which I had heard before. I also thought the brief portion of 'Chrysanthemum' that turns the tune into 'Jelly Roll' style was inspired."
- Fred Brodie, Cranford, New Jersey
"Had a partial listen to your latest, today; great work! Anyway, at first glance, I see you've created a really entertaining CD. 'Eccentricity' was masterful, and I liked the Isbitz, and Bolcom's 'Incineratorag'."
- Tom Bopp, composer-pianist, Oakhurst, California
"[In Syncopated Odyssey] we have the opportunity to hear some new works, well-executed. Although the piano sound is synthesized it sounds better than a good many other ragtime recordings on real pianos."
- Frank French, pianist-composer, Boulder, Colorado
"Your CD is absolutely great. You have got character, personality, and style. That is exactly what I expected from you. By far, it is the best product I have never heard obtained from MIDI tracks.
All the pieces are beautiful. It is difficult for me to select some of them in order to make a deeper analysis. However, these are the ones that I enjoyed more during the first auditions:
2. The Chrysanthemum: the spirit of Joplin in a surprisingly new, subtle, nice format.
8. Incineratorag: original harmony but traditional rag time concept.
9. Poltergeist: very interesting modern treatment to a hot piece of rag.
12. Palmetto rag: the nicest melodies to enjoy over and over again!
16. Space Shuffle: a festival of rhythm managing.
18. Eccentric Formalism Rag: eccentric but formidable. Here one understands how far it is possible to go with MIDI and good taste."
- Ezequiel PallejŠ, pianist-composer, Buenos Aires, Argentina
"After much deliberation, I ordered you CD. I told you that I would let you know how I liked it....there was one song that was so bad it hurt my ears to listen to it. I believe the name was Incineratorag. Incineratorag has some horrible dissonance and abrupt, key changes. I was reminded of the old wind-up Victrola that was in my mother's basement. I was also reminded of how Barbara Striesand (sp?) hits notes flat and then after an agonizing period, slides up to hit the correct pitch.
On the positive side: Your Maple Leaf Rag was exciting and colorful. Your Om-pa-pa instrumental was delightful. Most of the rags were unfamiliar to me. But OK. If I had a choice to buy the CD again, I wouldn't. I know you spent a lot of time and effort in making it and you should be proud. It just wasn't all that great to me. Sorry."
- Bob aka Old Lloyd, Rockville MD
"PS: ..I don't expect that you will put [my comments] on [your homepage]."
Quite the contrary, Bob. I believe in truth in advertising. Also, that you can't please everybody when it comes to music.
- John Roache
"My mom gave me a copy of your Syncopated Odyssey for an early Holiday present and I love it!! I have taken it to school to play to my Kindergarten students. I always have music on when they come in after lunch to work in their journals. It calms them down after the play time. Well, your CD doesn't exactly calm them down. LOL But it does get them bouncing in their seats and tapping their feet as they draw and write. Thanks for the joy!"
- Polyanna, America Online
"Syncopated Odyssey is a testament to the promise of MIDI. In the hands of a musical genre connoisseur, like John E. Roache, MIDI can be utilized to overcome physical limitations. This opens the door of brilliant musical expression that is otherwise left to the interpretations of a select few physically gifted musicians. Not only is Syncopated Odyssey a benchmark for MIDI technology and a glimpse at rare and beautiful ragtime/stride piano works, it is on it's own a simply delightful musical experience."
- Donn Kras, in New England
"Syncopated Odyssey is an elegant, eclectic collection of ragtime and stride piano classics (and ought-to-be classics), beautifully executed by John Roache. His performance of "Maple Leaf Rag" is in the true classic vein but sparkles with little gems supplied by Roache. "White Wash Man" is nothing but pure fun; "Back to Life" is exciting, and the rest are all wonderful examples of their kind. This is the best $16.00 I ever spent!"
- Tom Eason, Belmont, California
"I have had the CD 'Syncopated Odyssey' for about a week and my wife and I have played it everyday. Not only do we play it but we dance to it. When you are almost seventy years old that says something about the quality of the music on this CD! This is positively great music. If you had another one I would order it today."
- Jim Daniels, Redding, California
"I am most pleased with my purchase of 'Syncopated Odyssey.' Your music really captures the joy of Ragtime and Stride music. I look forward to more. Thank you for sharing your interest and your talents."
- Terry Crane, Rockwell, Iowa
"I have enjoyed 'Syncopated Odyssey' tremendously. Had it been an LP album, I would have worn it out by now. I play it every chance I get."
- Pete Lynch, Baltimore, Maryland
"I love it!! Can't possibly think of someone else who could do this. Have never seen this type of music available on a CD before; it's almost a "lost" art. The "STING" brought it to the younger generation; perhaps now the availability your CD will help perpetuate the style. The title is so appropriate. Thank You SO MUCH John Roache!"
- R. Dryman, Greensboro, North Carolina
"Your CD was well worth its trip half-way round the world to England. If there are any more of your Ragtime CD's forthcoming, I'll be first in line for a copy!"
- Jean Ainley, Newport Pagnell, Bucks, England
"Well it arrived this morning, and I must say I'm most impressed. It'll be a most excellent Christmas present for my Grandad."
- Stu Ekins, Derby, England
"The CD is wonderful and I have really enjoyed it. Shortly after it arrived our computer club here in Amador County was having a 'share' night so I took it with me to the meeting just to show the others what MIDI can do. It made a big hit."
- Frank Blauvelt, Jackson, California
"John, great CD! I listen to it all of the time in my car. I am especially glad you included 3 Sheets. When can we expect your next CD?"
- Jeff Trent, Burlington, New Jersey
"Poltergeist Rag is one of my favourites on the CD. The harmonics are very interesting, the main theme always sneaks in like a draft through the curtains in a moonless night. The CD is in my eyes just a starter - more will come hopefully - perhaps once a year or so?"
- Reinhard Popp, Germany
"Syncopated Odyssey is a superb execution of a wonderful style of music. Its professionally done and a pleasure to listen to. I am looking forward to a possible second CD."
- Jon J Cverna, Warren, Ohio
"John, your 'Syncopated Odessey' is all you said it to be. Wife and I enjoyed it. We are fans of Max Morath who is 'The Ragtime Man', and your CD fits right in."
- C Ernst, Florissant, Missouri
"It was BETTER than I expected. Quality great and material better. Thanks for a lot of enjoyment."
- Al Yeager, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
"Frankly, I am amazed that MIDI music can sound SO lifelike. I was very skeptical about the quality of the music, thinking it would lack the dynamics necessary to sound 'LIVE'. Happily, nothing could be further from the truth. I have enjoyed every track, over and over and over."
John A. Tuttle (email@example.com)
Web Domain at: http://www.playercare.com/
"As a big fan of the acoustic piano sound, I was a little reluctant to order a CD of piano music which was MIDI sequenced. My fears were quickly put to rest upon hearing the first track (and subsequent tracks). My congratulations on your attention to detail. I heard things that I was not expecting to hear - like phrasing, use of dynamics and gentle rubato. The only criticisms I have (and they are really minor) was that the banjo sound on the trio track was not as convincing as it could have been and on some of the pieces that used the lower registers of the piano, the lower "piano" notes sounded a little tinny. Otherwise, a most remarkable effort!"
- Corte Swearingen, Rolling Meadows, IL
"Great CD...John's rendition of Bolcom's 'Graceful Ghost' sparked a renewed interest in this soulful rag...it continued to play in my head for days after the CD arrived! The other contemporary rags with that stride 'feel' are delightful."
- Vaughn Seward, Edmonton, Canada
I have played [Syncopated Odyssey] many times since recieving it and must say "its great". Thank You.
- Paul R. Cheshire, Edinberg, Indiana
"Your 'Syncopated Odyssey' CD is a delight. And I congratulate your choices of original compositions, as well as the "oldies". Hal Isbitz and Robin Frost are just a joy. When's your next C.D. ?"
- Opal Franey, California
"I've been playing my copy of 'S.O.' for quite a while now. It has taken first position on my stack of favorites, displacing "The Complete Piano Works of Scott Joplin" (John Arpin) and my two Don Dorsey albums (Bachbusters and Beethoven or Bust)".
"I've really enjoyed 'S.O.', and will continue to do so I'm sure. My favorites, in order, are #12 - Palmetto Rag, #4 - White Wash Man, and #7 - Graceful Ghost Rag. I own and operate an avocado orchard here in Fallbrook, so I also have a preference for #14 - Rolling Avocado. We just finished the first harvest of the season, and more than once I chased a rolling avocado downhill."
"Your synthesis waves sound excellent. I'm not usually satisfied with synthesized piano, so for my own playing I use a Disklavier. But your recording is very good to my ears."
- Pete Prossen, Fallbrook, CA
Just played the CD after my wife finally handed it over as a Christmas present. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and really liked the span of nearly 100 years in the selections. In spite of the fact that I grew up on ragtime, the liner notes enhanced my pleasure by pointing out subtleties I would have missed.
- Barry Joseph, Medford, NJ
Just finished listening to Syncopated Odyssey which I received for Christmas. It is a great job! The variations possible with MIDI are fun to hear. I particularly enjoyed the Balcom selections and the James P. Johnson Eccentricity Waltz.
- M. Vesley, Williamsville, New York
I was so happy to receive your new CD. This is the happiest music ever created and you do a wonderful job with it. Every time I hear those wonderful rhythms I feel like moving and dancing. I find that it makes my exercise time bearable and the minutes seem to go by much faster when it's "treadmill time". Thanks for helping to upgrade it from "DREADmill time".
- Ethel Valz, New Orleans, Louisiana
After waiting patiently until Christmas , I finally unwrapped your CD..and proceeded to my portable CD Player... I was totally blown away... John..you are a true genius. I also received a James P. Johnson Piano Roll CD from Biograph.. which made me realize just how far technolgy has come.. comparing this with your CD. I am so glad I ordered it.. keep up the good work..
- Steve Sienkiewicz, Baltimore, Maryland
Thanks for the prompt and excellent service. I ordered your new CD, "Syncopated Odyssey" less than a week ago and I'm already listening to it. It is AWESOME! Thanks!
- James Rochford, Glendora, California
The Ragtime Midi Libraries of John E. Roache, Send EMAIL