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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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always had ample time that was given us in periods to rehearse our lessons, anyone that was desirous of accepting lessons. At the age of six I gave up the jew?s-harp and took my first lessons on the guitar with a Spanish gentleman in the neighborhood. My godmother paid for these lessons, as she always took an interest in anything her boy did.
At the age of seven I was considered among the best guitar­ists around, and sometimes I played in the string bands that were common at the time. These little three piece combina­tions, consisting of bass, mandolin, and guitar used to play serenades at late hours, from twelve to two, at the houses of friends. Naturally, the folks would welcome us when they heard those old tunes like Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight, Wearing My Heart for You, Old Oaken Bucket, Bird In a Gilded Cage, Mr, Johnson Turn Me Loose, as well as different little blues and ragtime numbers we knew. There was plenty of liquor in these old-time New Orelans homes and they were liberal about entertaining us musicians. Soon the family would be up, all the friends would be informed and a festival would be on.
Of course, my folks never had the idea they wanted a musi­cian in the family. They always had it in their minds that a musician was a tramp, trying to duck work, with the exception of the French opera house players which they patronized. As a matter of fact, I, myself, was inspired to play piano by going to a recital at the French opera house. There was a gentleman who rendered a selection on the piano, very marvelous music that made me want to play the piano very, very much. The only trouble was that this gentleman had long bushy hair, and, because the piano was known in our circle as an instru­ment for a lady, this confirmed me in my idea that if I played the piano I would be misunderstood.
I didn't want to be called a sissy. I wanted to marry and raise a family and be known as a man among men when I became of age. So I studied various other instruments, such as violin, drums and guitar, until one day at a party I saw a gen-