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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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I mean by real Creole, he was French and Spanish and spoke both languages. Like me. I change languages as I change clothes—French, Spanish, Italian, English, and back again. . . .
"Old Pierre, my grandfather, wasn't never rich, but he was well educated and a man, too. Knocked out two sets of twins among his ten children. Five lived to be men and women and five died. . . ."
"I thought hees name was fimile," * Amede remarked.
"No, no, fimile was old Pierre's son—his only son, and a cigarmaker, too," Henry said rolling a cigarette in his clawlike fingers and then passing the makings on to M. Colas, "fimile was the boy and the rest was daughters. That cause old lady Mimi to have to work out. You remember she used to cook for 'the Solaris out on Palmer s Avenue?"
"Me remember?" Amede began to giggle. "Times I used to stay out at Solaris! Mimi, she used to tell us, if you want to stay out here with these fine folks and all their money you got to act decent. Mimi was strict, strict! And those Solaris thought a lot of her, used to take her along when they went traveling to The Hague, Paris, Germany, and all them places."
(The bitterest hatreds are those of servants for their masters, and the most pitiable pretensions and the fantasies belong to children of servants. Jelly's "rich" grandmother traveled around the world as a ladies' maid.)
Old Henry struck the right note. "Ours was a highly-thought-of family, because Mimi was strict and all her daugh­ters the same. My mama, Laura, was just like Mimi and she married well. Good blood on both sides of the family. My daddy, Julien Monette **—he was a tailor by trade—got elected state senator in 1868. Yes, Papa was a big politician (a big racketeer like all these politicians, I reckon—) but in his days, he was known. Then he left New Orleans and died of yellow fever in Panama, working on the canal job."
* Henry's statement shows that both Jelly Roll and his sister had confused Emile and Pierre.
* * Not Henri, as Jelly remembered the name.