Max Morath

Inducted: April 16, 2016

Max Morath

Ragtime virtuoso Max Morath was born in Colorado Springs on October 1, 1926. His mother had lugged a piano bench full of music west from the family farm in Iowa; as a youngster, Max said he discovered “the beat in my fingers” for ragtime, the tunes that pre-dated jazz as America’s first distinctive music.


After receiving a bachelor’s degree in English from Colorado College, Morath embarked on a varied career.

Appearing in melodrama productions in southwest Colorado, he studied American popular music and theater. Finding inspiration in his ragtime heroes Eubie Blake and Scott Joplin, he became fascinated with the accompanying fads from the turn of the century.

Morath logged hundreds of appearances in the Gold Bar Room in Cripple Creek during the summers in the 1950s. He also did radio announcing and moved into TV, where he wrote, announced, edited, acted and sang at Colorado’s new KKTV in Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

In the years between 1959 and 1961, he wrote, performed and co-produced 26 half-hour television programs for NET (National Educational Television), the precursor to PBS. Produced by KRMA/Channel 6 in Denver, they were fed nationally to the nascent public broadcasting network, combining Morath’s seemingly offhand, colloquial approach to early American popular music, comedy and social history.

The Ragtime Era series, followed by the Turn of the Century series, were in syndication through the 1960s and are considered classics of the genre.

Moving from Colorado to New York, Morath performed nationally at colleges and in nightclubs with his Original Rag Quartet. His off-Broadway one-man show Max Morath at the Turn of the Century was a hit (he spent seven weeks back in Durango rehearsing his performance ), and similar productions followed—The Ragtime Years, Living a Ragtime Life, The Ragtime Man and more.


“Mr. Ragtime” retired from touring in 2007 and continued to be active as a lecturer and consultant.

Max Morath Discography

1977 – The Ragtime Women

1963 – That Celebrated Maestro

1995 – Drugstore Cabaret

1979 – In Jazz Country

Plays and Sings at the Mighty Gold Bar Piano

1969 – At The Turn of the Century

1979 – The Great American Piano Bench

1977 – These Charming People

1978 – Don’t Give the Name a Bad Place

1977 – Living a Ragtime Life

1973 – Ragtime Favorites of Scott Joplin

1959 – Gold Bar Rag

1976 – Ragtime

1976 – Jonah Man

1973 – The World of Scott Joplin

1975 – The World of Scott Joplin Vol. 2

2004 – The Ragtime Man

1972 – The Best of Scott Joplin

1959 – Honky Tonk in Hi-Fi

1959 – More Morath

1954 – Plays at the Gold Bar Room

1974 – Irving Berlin The Ragtime Years

1964 – It’s All Yours

1968 – The Entertainer

1964 – Oh, Play That Thing

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Lannie Garrett Old

Inducted: November 8, 2013

Lannie Garrett

At age 22, Lannie Garrett arrived in Colorado, her first stop on a purposely undefined journey to the West. While waiting to establish residency for tuition purposes, she met Denver club singer Ron Henry and told him to call her if he ever needed a singer.



He did, and she eventually proved herself to the eager young musicians in town, many of whom backed her over the years.

Garrett performed at a cabaret in Larimer Square and was named Favorite Female Vocalist several years in a row by readers of the Denver Post. She garnered the same recognition with readers of 5280 magazine and the gay community’s Out Front. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra accompanied her for a concert, and she appeared in national nightclubs and recorded half a dozen albums.

Garrett operated Ruby, a club on East 17th Avenue, and spent a decade as the house entertainer at the Denver Buffalo Company.

In 2006, she realized the dream of owning her own venue, opening Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret beneath the D&F Tower downtown, where she hosted top local and national talent.

Garrett took to the stage herself with a succession of themed shows, from fronting her “AnySwing Goes” big band as a sequined chanteuse to bringing her comedy chops to The Patsy DeCline Show, her campy country-music spoof.

Other Garrett creations include the George Gershwin tribute “’S Wonderful”; “Screen Gems: Songs from the Movies”; “Great Women of Song”; “The Chick Sings Frank: A Tribute to Sinatra”; “A Slick Chick on the Mellow Side,” her 1940s jazz and jump show; “Beatles to Bacharach: Songs and Stories”; “The Platforms and Polyester Disco Revue”; and “Under Paris Skies,” influenced by gypsy jazz.


Lannie Garrett operated Ruby, a club on 17th Avenue, and spent a decade as the house entertainer at the Denver Buffalo Company.

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Admiring luthier Max Krimmel’s first stringed instrument, built circa 1965 at a Denver Folklore Center course in guitar making ("Build Your Own Peach Box Guitar")

Russell, Cohen and Allison – Honoring those lost but not forgotten.

The music world lost three icons in November, and I’m grateful to have had the privilege of seeing them perform in Colorado.

When Leon Russell (d. Nov. 13) was recording Hank Wilson’s Back in 1973, he decided he wanted kindred spirits New Grass Revival to back him up. The veteran rocker made his Telluride Bluegrass Festival debut in 1980, teaming up with New Grass to shake the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado. Russell looked radiant in the spotlight, his sly rasp “converting” hushed fans to gospel grass with “Jesus Will Take Me Home” and “Amazing Grace.” I remember a second encore of “Roll Over Beethoven” went well beyond the curfew. It then took the emcee, Pastor Mustard, 20 minutes to convince the crowd that the magic had come to an end.

Leonard Cohen (d. Nov. 7) was experiencing a creative upsurge late in life when he performed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2009 and 1stBank Center in 2012, two of the strongest, most confident shows I witnessed in the past decade. In his seventies by that time, the elegiac poet was returning to the stage after he discovered that his former business manager had embezzled millions from him; he never managed to collect the awarded damages. Cohen sang his heart out—even getting down on his knees to emphasize his dedication—serving up his catalog accompanied by a full complement of meticulously rehearsed musicians and singers.

Mose Allison (d. Nov. 15), who bridged sophisticated jazz and the Delta country blues of his childhood with pointedly observant lyrics, released 31 albums and toured for 65 years before retiring in 2012. Born in Mississippi, Allison attended Ole Miss for a year before joining the Army in 1946 and playing in the Army Band in Colorado Springs. He became British rock’s most popular jazz musician, exalted by the likes of Pete Townshend and Jack Bruce. A sparse crowd showed up at Denver’s legendary Ebbets Field nightclub in the mid 1970s, but when a fan requested a tune from his 1965 Mose Alive! album, Allison obliged in his gentlemanly way by performing several of the songs.

They may be gone, but their music lives on…”

G. Brown

CMHOF Executive Director