The Little Professor

James Scott is a well-known ragtime composer and pianist born in Kenosha, Missouri. He started playing the piano at an early age, first learning from his mom, and then taking lessons with a black pianist named John Coleman. Scott was known for his perfect pitch being known as the “Little Professor.” In 1902, Scott moved to Carthage, Missouri and started working for Dumars Music Store.  Mr Dumars started to notice Scott’s musical talent and allowed Scott to help him sell pianos by going on road trips and allowing Scott demonstrate the pianos to customers and play songs on them. Later, Mr. Dumars helped publish and co-wrote some of Scott’s pieces including his first rag, “A Summer Breeze —March and Two-Step”.  Scott studied with Scott Joplin, another well known ragtime composer. Joplin’s publisher later started publishing Scott’s music. James Scott moved to Kansas City in 1914, where he was working as music director for a local theater chain, and teaching piano. He died in 1938, but his music is still appreciated by ragtime enthusiasts.

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