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Jelly Roll Morton

Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (October 20, 1890 – July 10, 1941), known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was an American ragtime and jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer. Morton was jazz's first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential characteristics when notated. His composition "Jelly Roll Blues", published in 1915, was one of the first published jazz compositions. Morton also wrote "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.

Morton's claim to have invented jazz in 1902 was criticized. Music critic Scott Yanow wrote, "Jelly Roll Morton did himself a lot of harm posthumously by exaggerating his worth...Morton's accomplishments as an early innovator are so vast that he did not really need to stretch the truth." 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". In 2013, Katy Martin published an article arguing that Alan Lomax's book of interviews put Morton in a negative light. Lomax disagreed that Morton was an egotist. "In being called a supreme egotist, Jelly Roll was often a victim of loose and lurid reporting. If we read the words that he himself wrote, we learn that he almost had an inferiority complex and said that he created his own style of jazz piano because 'All my fellow musicians were much faster in manipulations, I thought than I, and I did not feel as though I was in their class.' So he used a slower tempo to permit flexibility through the use of more notes, a pinch of Spanish to give a number of right seasoning, the avoidance of playing triple forte continuously, and many other points". – Quoted in John Szwed, Dr. Jazz.

Birth and Death Data: Born October 20th, 1890 (Gulfport), Died Los Angeles

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1921 - 1940

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, piano, leader, director, vocalist, speaker, lyricist, songwriter, arranger

Notes: Some disc labels credit as Ferd. Morton.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 158 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-28459 10-in. 9/10/1923 Wolverine blues Benson Orchestra of Chicago ; Don Bestor Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor B-31143 10-in. 11/4/1924 King Porter stomp Benson Orchestra of Chicago ; Don Bestor Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-33379 10-in. 9/14/1925 Milenberg joys Busse's Buzzards Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-36239 10-in. 9/15/1926 Black bottom stomp Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-36240 10-in. 9/15/1926 Smoke-house blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-36241 10-in. 9/15/1926 The chant Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, leader  
Victor BVE-36283 10-in. 9/21/1926 Sidewalk blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with talk leader, instrumentalist, piano, speaker, composer  
Victor BVE-36284 10-in. 9/21/1926 Dead man blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with talk leader, instrumentalist, piano, speaker, composer  
Victor BVE-36285 10-in. 9/21/1926 Steamboat stomp Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with talk leader, instrumentalist, piano, speaker, composer  
Victor BVE-37238 10-in. 12/14/1926 Midnight mama Kansas City Orchestra ; Bennie Moten Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-37254 10-in. 12/16/1926 Someday sweetheart Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-37255 10-in. 12/16/1926 Grandpa's spells Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-37256 10-in. 12/16/1926 Original Jelly-Roll Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-37257 10-in. 12/16/1926 Doctor Jazz stomp Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo leader, instrumentalist, piano, vocalist  
Victor BVE-37258 10-in. 12/16/1926 Cannon ball Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-38627 10-in. 6/4/1927 Hyena stomp Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with laughing leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-38628 10-in. 6/4/1927 Billy goat stomp Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band, with goat imitations leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-38629 10-in. 6/4/1927 Wild man blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, speaker, composer  
Victor BVE-38630 10-in. 6/4/1927 Jungle blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-38661 10-in. 6/10/1927 Beale Street blues Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-38662 10-in. 6/10/1927 The pearls Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, composer, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-38663 10-in. 6/10/1927 Wolverine blues Jelly Roll Morton Jazz/dance ensemble instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-38664 10-in. 6/10/1927 Mr. Jelly Lord Jelly Roll Morton Jazz/dance ensemble instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-43655 10-in. 4/19/1928 Sweetheart o' mine Johnny Marvin Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor BVE-45619 10-in. 6/11/1928 Georgia swing Jelly Roll Morton ; Red Hot Peppers Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
(Results 1-25 of 158 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Morton, Jelly Roll," accessed October 23, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101896.

Morton, Jelly Roll. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 23, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101896.

"Morton, Jelly Roll." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 23 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101896

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