Jelly Roll Morton
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1885-10-20
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Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton Biography (BBC)

His publicity photos claimed he was the 'originator of jazz and stomps', an example of the kind of outrageous and colourful statement frequently associated with this most colourful of jazz characters. Morton was born Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe in New Orleans, and he grew up in that city's creole society.

After leaving his hometown in 1907 to become a wandering pianist, he seldom returned there, yet his subsequent music was to include some of the most brilliant examples of what is now known as New Orleans jazz. From 1907-1922 he criss-crossed the United States, drawing in a wide range of musical influence, and becoming fully aware of the emergence of jazz.

By the end of that period, he was based on the West Coast, where he not only played, but began publishing his compositions. In 1923 he moved to Chicago and soon began a series of outstanding recordings both as a pianist and with various bands.

His solo piano work marks a vital phase in the transition from ragtime to jazz, but Morton also incorporated many of the rhythmic ideas of his Hispanic Creole heritage. His band discs, notably those from 1926-7 with his Red Hot Peppers, are classic examples of the New Orleans ensemble style, with trumpet, clarinet and trombone parts weaving together in collective improvisation.

But Morton also arranged his recorded performances to fit the playing time of the 78 rpm disc - thereby adding a new skill to that of the composer and arranger. He became the first jazz composer to exploit the record as an aspect of his composing. With the end of the golden age of Chicago jazz and the onset of the depression in 1929, Morton moved to New York, but his career declined and he was seen by many as a loudmouthed has-been.

He proved his critics wrong, both with a marvellous series of autobiographical discs made for the Library of Congress in 1938 that build up a fascinating portrait of turn-of-the century New Orleans and its music, and also in further sets of band discs from 1939 and 1941. He died just as the revival of interest in New Orleans jazz was about to get under way.

Jelly Roll Morton Biography (Wikipedia)

Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (October 20, 1890 – July 10, 1941), known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was an American ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer who started his career in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton is perhaps most notable as jazz's first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential spirit and characteristics when notated. His composition "Jelly Roll Blues" was the first published jazz composition, in 1915. Morton is also notable for writing such standards as "King Porter Stomp", "Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", the last a tribute to New Orleans musicians from the turn of the 20th century.

Notorious for his arrogance and self-promotion as often as recognized in his day for his musical talents, Morton claimed to have invented jazz outright in 1902—much to the derision of later musicians and critics. The jazz historian, musician, and composer Gunther Schuller says of Morton's "hyperbolic assertions" that there is "no proof to the contrary" and that Morton's "considerable accomplishments in themselves provide reasonable substantiation". However, the scholar Katy Martin has argued that Morton's bragging was exaggerated by Alan Lomax in the book Mister Jelly Roll, and this portrayal has influenced public opinion and scholarship on Morton since.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Jelly Roll Morton Performances & Interviews


Jelly Roll Morton Tracks

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Jelly Roll Morton
Original Rags
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Original Rags
Jelly Roll Morton
Kansas City Stomp
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Kansas City Stomp
Jelly Roll Morton
Doctor Jazz
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Doctor Jazz
Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, Andrew Hilaire, George Mitchell, Johnny St. Cyr, Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, Darnell Howard, John Lindsay & Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers
Sidewalk Blues
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Sidewalk Blues
Jelly Roll Morton
King Porter Stomp
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King Porter Stomp
Jelly Roll Morton
Tank Town Bump
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Tank Town Bump
Jelly Roll Morton
King Porter Stomp
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King Porter Stomp
Jelly Roll Morton
Buddy Bolden's Blues
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Buddy Bolden's Blues
Jelly Roll Morton
Ain't Misbehavin'
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Ain't Misbehavin'
Jelly Roll Morton
Maple Leaf Rag
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Maple Leaf Rag
Jelly Roll Morton
Honky-Tonk Blues
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Honky-Tonk Blues
Jelly Roll Morton & Jelly Roll Morton
The Pearls
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The Pearls
Jelly Roll Morton
King Porter
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King Porter
Jelly Roll Morton
Sidewalk Blues
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Sidewalk Blues
Roy Palmer
Muddy Water Blues
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Muddy Water Blues
Jelly Roll Morton
Black Bottom Stomp
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Black Bottom Stomp
Jelly Roll Morton
Dead Man Blues
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Dead Man Blues
Paul Barnes, Joe Thomas, Walter Thomas, Rod Rodriguez, Boyd Rosser, Jelly Roll Morton, Walter Briscoe, Charlie Irvis, George Baquet, Barney Alexander, Harry Prather & William Laws
Burnin' The Iceberg
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Burnin' The Iceberg

Burnin' The Iceberg

Performer
Paul Barnes, Joe Thomas, Walter Thomas, Rod Rodriguez, Boyd Rosser, Jelly Roll Morton, Walter Briscoe, Charlie Irvis, George Baquet, Barney Alexander, Harry Prather & William Laws
Jelly Roll Morton
Mamie's Blues
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Mamie's Blues
Jelly Roll Morton
Each Day
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Each Day
Jelly Roll Morton
I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say
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I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say
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