Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers

Biography

Red Hot Peppers was a recording jazz band led by Jelly Roll Morton from 1926-1930. It was a seven- or eight-piece band formed in Chicago that recorded for Victor and featured the best New Orleans-style freelance musicians available, including cornetist George Mitchell, trombonist Kid Ory, clarinetists Omer Simeon and Johnny Dodds, banjoists Johnny St. Cyr and Bud Scott, double bass player John Lindsay, and drummers Andrew Hilaire and Baby Dodds.

Recordings made by the group in Chicago in 1926–27, such as "Black Bottom Stomp", "Smoke-House Blues" and "Doctor Jazz" set a standard for small group jazz that is still unrivaled. Morton's skills as a composer and arranger are apparent in the structure of the pieces, which combines clarity with variety and manages to maintain a balance between ensemble and solo playing while allowing for a substantial solo from every band member. The quality of the recordings is further enhanced by the band's careful rehearsals, which were uncommon in early jazz performances. A number of Morton's best piano solos can also be heard on these recordings.

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