Dalton Ridenhour is a genuine improvising musician, but someone whose subtleties might get taken for granted because he is so good at so many things. And he doesn’t self-congratulate as he plays, as some do, turning their head to the audience as if to say, “See how impressively I played that last little thing there? Time to break into spontaneous applause!”
He has the confidence and steadiness to go his own way within a song or a performance, creating structures of sound that aren’t flashy but that are terribly moving. I came away from Dalton’s solo performances at the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival feeling that I’d witnessed someone brave and patient, balancing the familiar and the inherently personal. I told him after one set that I thought he had built his own house and was roaming around inside it, and the metaphor seemed to please him.
His SEDALIA BLUES pleased us so much more.
Around the three-minute mark in this leisurely performance, a while city sanitation truck came to a stop on the street (out of camera range but nearby) and began doing what such trucks do. It had “Keep Our City Clean” painted in green letters on its side, and for a moment I thought of titling this improvisation “KEEP OUR CITY CLEAN BLUES,” but it isn’t my place to do so. My place is to celebrate Dalton Ridenhour, splendid quiet explorer of heartfelt music.
Here’s SEDALIA BLUES. Underestimate it, and Dalton, at your peril.
I will post more from Dalton, in solo and duo, for certain.
May your happiness increase!