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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 July 10th, 1941 (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 101-125 of 165 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-030302 10-in. 11/22/1938 Jelly-roll blues Bunny Berigan Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-030361 10-in. 12/6/1938 Milenberg joys Don Redman Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-031805 10-in. 1/19/1939 Milenberg joys Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-031806 10-in. 1/19/1939 Milenberg joys Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BS-041360 10-in. 9/28/1939 Climax rag Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-041361 10-in. 9/28/1939 Don't you leave me here Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director, vocalist, composer  
Victor BS-041362 10-in. 9/28/1939 West End blues Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-041363 10-in. 9/28/1939 Ballin' the jack Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director, vocalist  
Victor BS-041456 10-in. 9/14/1939 Oh, didn't he ramble Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with talk instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-041457 10-in. 9/14/1939 High society Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band instrumentalist, piano, director  
Victor BS-041458 10-in. 9/14/1939 I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director, vocalist, arranger  
Victor BS-041459 10-in. 9/14/1939 Winin' boy blues Jelly Roll Morton ; New Orleans Jazzmen Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, piano, director, vocalist, arranger  
Victor BS-051224 10-in. 6/4/1940 Wild man blues Sidney Bechet ; New Orleans Feetwarmers Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 80920 10-in. 3/30/1923 Wolverine blues Frank Westphal Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 81302 10-in. 10/15/1923 London (Café) blues King Oliver’s Jazz Band Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 140398 10-in. 2/26/1925 King Porter stomp Lanin's Red Heads Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W140709 10-in. 6/22/1925 Milenberg joys Ted Lewis and his Band Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W141693 10-in. 3/1/1926 Jelly roll blues Fowler's Washboard Wonders Instrumental quartet composer  
Columbia W142981 10-in. 12/2/1926 Sidewalk blues Doc Cook ; Dreamland Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia 143181 10-in. 12/13/1926 Sidewalk blues Ross Gorman ; Virginians Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W145760 10-in. 3/13/1928 Ham and eggs Johnny Dunn and his Band Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W145761 10-in. 3/13/1928 Buffalo blues Johnny Dunn and his Band Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W145763 10-in. 3/14/1928 King Porter stomp Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W145954 10-in. 4/3/1928 Jungle blues Ted Lewis and his Band Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo composer  
Columbia W152325 10-in. 12/9/1932 New King Porter stomp Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
(Results 101-125 of 165 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Morton, Jelly Roll," accessed June 23, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101896.

Morton, Jelly Roll. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 23, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101896.

"Morton, Jelly Roll." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 23 June 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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