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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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secure, secret, and confined Creole family life. The beauty and glory of this life (indeed, for an American Negro, it was a com­paratively rich one) were forever lost to him. Already an orphan, he became a wanderer, searching for a golden world that existed only in the memories and prejudices of respectable old Creole ladies like his grandmother.
He turned and walked away down the sunny street, the poison of Minn s words entering and taking hold of his heart. She had judged him a danger to his sisters, a threat to the family reputation, and unworthy of the name of a Pechet, a Monette or a La Menthe. Her rejection wakened an unquench­able ambition and drive in the boy.
"One of the best junior pianists in the city of New Orleans"— would now be the king of ivories, glorifying a new name. Shut out of the warm heart of Creole New Orleans, he would bring the whole world close to the fire of New Orleans music. In the end he would have a respectable Creole girl, whom he would guard as jealously as Mimi watched his sisters.
This moment of fantasy prepared the way for later, almost paranoid, feelings of self-love and persecution. Defeated by his family respectability, Morton would never again admit that he had been bested in anything; his epic self-praise antago­nized even his admirers. He met the whole world, including those who loved him best, with a diamond-encrusted and de­fiant smile. Back of this smile were hidden the shame and sor­row of his childhood; these were secrets too painful for him to recall, but along the narrow streets of New Orleans they are still whispered—they are still to be discovered in bits and fragments during an afternoon of casual Creole gossip. . . .
The streets of the Seventh and Eighth Wards-the "best" part of what Jelly calls "Downtown" (actually, the district lies to the west and north of the French Quarter and the Old Cemetery above Claiborne Avenue)—have changed little since Jelly Roll rode with the Broadway Swells. La Harpe, Tonti, Rocheblave, Ursuline, Durbigny, St. Antoine—all are dusty and quiet with a diminutive grocery and a small neighborhood bar