Shorty James has enjoyed an illustrious 62-year career as pianist and composer. Completely self-taught, during World War II he hosted a radio show while in the service in Europe. One of his guests was a young Frank Sinatra. He also played with Vic Damone and Peggy Lee. Shorty is billed as the fastest piano in the East, a well deserved title as his numerous awards from ragtime competitions throughout the country attest. He appeared on the Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen Tonight shows as a member of the Charleston Trio. He has also taught at Juilliard and Berkeley. Shorty recorded this CD himself on a Roland EP9 keyboard via MIDI, then added the string accompaniment. 'Montovani couldn't have done better!' he says. The original compositions are all inspired by women he has known. 'Half of them I dreamed,' he explains. 'I am on a beach. There is no obvious source. The music flows off the water. I wake up and record the tunes on the piano.'