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Creole influence in evidence, but the blues manner also is present. . . . George Lewis plays many passages that require great dexterity in execution. His style contains a level of emotion that is obviously inspired.
—Grossman & Farrell8
player would play hy himself . . . they dioVt show too much imagination and IVe heard records that sounded like they were made as far back as this that had a lot of imagination—a lot of Armstrong and Bix . . . rhythm section played on the same level all the time. I didn't like the clarinet —it sounded like an exercise book. Fd rate it one star.
—Jimmy Giuffre (re George Lewis record, Fidgety Feet).
Much has been written about the New Orleans revival. The praises of toothless and winded cornet players have been sung by zealous partisans of early jazz, for whom oldtime jazz is necessarily better than classical, and primitive jazz better than oldtime. Even if these musicians had been able to recapture the skill and enthusiasm of their youth, they would still have remained no more than useful but humble precursors whom many others had surpassed.
In the early days, the great piano players were always on the East Coastj Jelly Roll Morton played piano like one of those hign school teachers in Washington; as a matter of fact, high school teachers played better jazz. Among other things, Ills rhythm was unsteady.
Well, I suppose the fellows did the best they could with that
It is certainly dangerous to bring back figures of legend, well past their prime, and expose them to the harsh light of reality. But things worked out remarkably well . . . Bunk was on occasions quite magnificent, and even when he faltered, the combination of what he was trying to play and the overwhelming aura of nostalgia and romance felt by his audiences was enough to make it quite clear that this particular noble experiment had been a most valuable one. —Bill Grauer & Orrin Keepnews9
Jelly Roll Morton was an extraordinary pianist ... the music he wrote ... contains some of the greatest jazz literature of all time. —George Avakian
The significant thing to remember about Jelly Roll is that