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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 126-150 of 165 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
OKeh S-7809 10-in. Mar. 1921 Jelly Roll blues Norfolk Jazz Quartet Male vocal quartet, unaccompanied composer  
OKeh 8498 10-in. Oct. 1923 Some day, sweetheart Jelly Roll Morton's Jazz Band Jazz/dance band leader  
OKeh 8499 10-in. Oct. 1923 London blues Jelly Roll Morton's Jazz Band Jazz/dance band leader, composer  
OKeh 9019 10-in. Mar. 1925 King Porter stomp Charles Creath's Jazz-O-Maniacs Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh 9429 10-in. Nov. 1925 Grandpa's spell Charles Creath's Jazz-O-Maniacs Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh 9661 10-in. 5/12/1926 Soap suds St. Louis Levee Band Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh 9662 Not documented 5/12/1926 [Unknown title(s)] St. Louis Levee Band Jazz/dance band leader, instrumentalist, piano  
OKeh S-71606 10-in. June 1923 Wolverine blues Harry Raderman's Jazz Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
OKeh W80848 10-in. 5/7/1927 Wild man blues Louis Armstrong ; Hot Seven Jazz/dance ensemble composer  
OKeh W80851 10-in. 5/9/1927 Chicago breakdown Louis Armstrong ; Earl Hines ; Hot Seven Jazz/dance ensemble composer  
Brunswick 10906-10908 10-in. 6/21/1923 Wolverine blues Gene Rodemich’s Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick E16189-E16191 10-in. 8/21/1925 Milenberg joys Cotton Pickers Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick C1994 10-in. 5/26/1928 Sweetheart o’ mine Frank Sylvano Male vocal solo, with jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick C2156 10-in. 7/28/1928 Milenberg joys Lil Hardaway Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with vocal composer  
Brunswick C2336 10-in. 9/22/1928 Milenberg joys Lil Hardaway Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with vocal composer  
Brunswick C160-C161 10-in. 4/20/1926 The pearls Jelly Roll Morton Piano solo instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Brunswick C162-C163 10-in. 4/20/1926 Sweetheart o’ mine Jelly Roll Morton Piano solo instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Brunswick C164-C165 10-in. 4/20/1926 Fat meat and greens Jelly Roll Morton Piano solo instrumentalist, piano  
Brunswick C166-C167 10-in. 4/20/1926 King Porter stomp Jelly Roll Morton Piano solo instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Brunswick C514-C515 10-in. 7/21/1926 Dead man blues Edmonia Henderson Female vocal solo, with instrumental trio composer  
Brunswick C658-C659 10-in. 9/17/1926 Dead man blues Dixie Syncopators ; King Oliver Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick C701-C702 10-in. 2/23/1927 Milenberg joys Rodney Rogers’ Red Peppers Guitar trio, with vocal composer  
Brunswick C796-C797 10-in. 4/22/1927 Wild man blues Black Bottom Stompers ; Johnny Dodds Jazz/dance band composer  
Brunswick C1316-C1319 10-in. 10/14/1927 Milenberg joys Rodney Rogers’ Red Peppers String band, with vocal composer  
Brunswick C1422-C1423 10-in. 1/10/1928 Milenberg joys Husk O'Hare's Wolverines Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo songwriter  
(Results 126-150 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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