Jelly Roll Morton, Inventor Of Jazz, Online Book by Alan Lomax

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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As the legend grew and flowered over the keyboard of that Congressional grand piano, the back seats of the hall filled with ghostly listeners—figures dressed in Mardi Gras costumes, fancy prostitutes in their plumes and diamonds, tough sports from Rampart Street in pegtop trousers and boxback coats, cable-armed black longshoremen from the riverfront, octo­roons in their brilliant tiyorts giggling at Morton s tales, old ladies framing severe parchment faces in black shawls, jazz­men of every complexion playing a solid background on their horns—for this was their legend that Jelly Roll was weaving at the piano, a legend of the painful and glorious flowering of hot jazz in which they had all played a part.
In New Orleans, in New Orleans Louisiana Town . . .
Something came along there where the Mississippi Delta washes its muddy foot in the blue Gulf, something that bullies us, enchants us, pursues us out of the black throats of a thou-saad thousand music boxes. This somertnng was jazz, which took shape in New Orleans around 1900 and within a genera­tion was beating upon the hearts of most of the cities of the world.
A half century later the lineage of every fine jazz musician can still be traced back to the handful of half-caste Creoles, who performed the original act of creation. As Jelly Roll is the "father" of hot piano, so black Buddy Bolden opened the way for other hot trumpet players, and Papa Tio taught "us afl how to play clarinet." All these men knew each other. As boys they followed the parades together or, split into neighbor­hood gangs and fought bloody rock fights in the alleys. Later they wove together the complex fabric of hot jazz, an American creation at first scorned by the aesthetes and banned by the moralists. Meantime the fox-trot became our national dance. Today jazz lends its color to most American music and to a great deal of the popular music of the world, as well.