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The Composers and Arrangers
chestral forms. An examination of Jelly Roll Mortons Cannon Ball Blues and Someday Sweetheart reveals that both the writer and the men written for had less to work with. Despite occasional lapses of sectional accuracy in the Henderson performances, they are models of precision and swing when compared with the stiff, unimaginative phrasing of the Morton group. Someday Sweet­heart opens with a violin solo, playing strict melody in a com­pletely non-jazz style, with background effects based either on sustained notes or on syncopated phrases invariably played too staccato to swing; on the second chorus a bass clarinet takes over the solo role, also playing straight melody with little beat. Mor-tons following piano solo is a model of non-swing; his left hand limps along, playing single notes and triads while the right pro­duces trite variations on the melody. Only in the final sixteen measures played by the ensemble does the band swing collec­tively and in obviously improvised style; evidently whatever arrangement had been written for the close, if any, proved un­suitable for use, or else Morton realized that collective ad libbing gave this band its only chance for inspired jazz expression.
Cannon Ball Blues, recorded at the same time (December 1926), reveals that even when working in the familiar framework of the traditional blues Morton's men had either too much (the last measure of the trumpet break) or too little to say, and that the framework he offered them in which to say it was no less limited. His own wobbly piano solo is backed by shakily held "organ harmony" by the horns, all played directly on the beat; again the final chorus, played ad lib, is the only part that swings, and the four-bar coda could be the twin of a passage from one of Billy May's recent satires on Dixieland jazz, so obviously and "comity" does it state its arhythmic message.
Twelve days before Morton recorded these numbers, Duke Ellington had opened at New York's Cotton Club with a band that already had to its credit two years of recording experience, the second year having been dedicated entirely to music born within the Ellington band and arranged by Duke himself. Elling­ton had already found the path toward a more enlightened con­cept of the blues, interweaving major and minor themes, finding colorful new voicings even within the limitations of an mstrumen-