Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jelly Roll Morton 125 -- October 20, 2015

Great American composer and pianist Jelly Roll Morton may have been born 125 years ago today, on 20-October-1890 in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans.  His name may have been Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe or LaMenthe or something else. He told many wonderful stories about himself and some were probably true.  He said that he invented jazz.  He didn't, but he had a lot to do with its growth and increasing sophistication.  He spent time in San Francisco, playing in the Barbary Coast, where he owned a club called the Jupiter. He said the cops drove him out of town.  I would like to write a story about that. 

I heard "Doctor Jazz" played on the radio one Saturday morning when I was very young and I think that was what got me interested in jazz.

I learned something about music by listening repeatedly to this piano solo and then to Fletcher Henderson's arrangement for Benny Goodman. 

I liked the use of sounds in the opening of this one.  The Red Hot Peppers influenced the coming big band era. 

His music influenced everyone in jazz, but had a particularly strong effect on the traditional jazz movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lu Watters and Turk Murphy played many of this tunes.

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