Have a ragtime ball with the Ugly Bug boys in Town Hall

Ugly Bug Ragtime Three. Guitar: Ross Milligan, Double bass: Andy Sharkey, Clarinet: John Burgess. Photo by  Stephanie Pegg
Ugly Bug Ragtime Three. Guitar: Ross Milligan, Double bass: Andy Sharkey, Clarinet: John Burgess. Photo by Stephanie Pegg

A form of music which has been alive and kicking since the 1800s will be setting the 21st Century tapping at Falkirk Town Hall next week.

Playing material that first filled dance floors over a century ago, The Ugly Bug Ragtime Three unleash jazz and ragtime standards that still cause uncontrollable body movement in the digital age.

The band, which plays Falkirk Town Hall on Friday, February 21, features three men who are the cream of Scotland’s jazz crop, firing into a marvellous mixture of rags, blues and stomps from the golden age of this long established musical form.

Having recorded a number of albums the trio has a ton of material to dazzle punters with and get fingers snapping. The real strength of the Ugly Bug Ragtime Three is the combination of its members. All successful, respected musicians in their own right, they are even better together.

John Burgess (clarinet) has played at jazz festivals and clubs all over the world, from the USA and Canada to Northern Africa, The Middle East and Europe. As well as having the live chops, John has also graced around 100 recordings and released several albums as a band leader, having shared a stage or a studio with jazz greats like Roy Williams, Digby Fairweather, Forrie Cairns, Ian Bateman, Jim Fryer, Enricco Tomasso, Amy Roberts and Stephanie Trick.

Guitarist and banjo man Ross Milligan, meanwhile, has played live and studio sessions with The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, trip hop’s Tricky, Horse, Pee Wee llis, Ute Lemper, Barbara Morrison, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir George Martin and The Scottish Guitar Quartet. He has also written music for the films Get Happy (2015), Butterflies of Bill Baker (2013) and his compositions have appeared on TV all over the world.

Providing the thumping bottom for John and Ross, upright bass slapper Andy Sharkey, who teaches music at the University of Strathclyde, has toured with West End musical The Rat Pack and is a well-kent face on the Scottish jazz scene.

The music the Ugly Bug Ragtime Three belt out to their adoring fans – ragtime – enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1919. The style has its in African American communities in American cities like St. Louis and composer Scott Joplin gained fame through a string of hits, including 1902’s The Entertainer. Check it out next Friday from 7.30pm. See www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org for more.