Ethan Uslan is a ragtime/jazz/silent film pianist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a 3-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest (yes - that really exists!) and has performed all over the USA as well as in the UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and Cyberspace, where his jazzed-up Für Elise has gone viral.
Review of this CD from Jack Rummel's ragtime music reviews (www.ragtimers.org):
"Uslan carries on the tradition of taking familiar pop melodies and turning them into four-alarm stride vehicles. His rhythm is solid, he uses a full range of dynamics and his cascading single notes are like liquid – all the while making everything sound so easy. His bag of improvisational tricks is vast, although a couple of them (throwing chords back and forth between hands in a heavily syncopated fashion; and moving the melody to the bass clef) seem to show up in every number. You pick the tempo, he’s always got it in control.
He plays the rags pretty much as written, often using a staccato approach. While Joplin ’s Gladiolus Rag was a bit fast for my tastes, I certainly enjoyed the others. Carolina Tar Heel by Dan J. Sullivan is a rarity from 1898 that deserves to be perpetuated. To these, Uslan has added four notable contemporary rags: Scotty Dog Rag by David Lee, with its deceiving syncopation in the B-section; the innovative Carolina Rose by Brett Youens; the strutting Ticklish Tom – A Carolina Cakewalk by Bryan Wright; and Uslan’s own Carolina Chickadee, which with its sparkling triplets makes a great addition to the “bird rag” genre.
It was hard to pick favorites, but clustered toward the top were his opening cut, plus Tiger Rag (it has one of the best “roars” on record), Scotty Dog Rag, Carolina Rose and Carolina Chickadee. Special mention goes to Southology by Joe Sanders, a tone poem with no driving rhythm which provides a lovely break halfway through the disc and a distinct departure from the rest of the choices.
The sound, liner notes and graphics are all excellent. Ethan Uslan is a prodigious talent and has given us a strong first effort with this CD."