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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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The Family
"Well, that's all news to me/' said Amede. "It all happened before I went to live in the Monette home."
"You keep talking about the Monette home! It wasn't ours," Uncle Henry said. "We rent it so long, everybody think it be-long to us. . . . Don't look at me, Amede. This young man want the facts and I ain't gonna He."
Amede looked embarrassed. "My people never told us chil­dren nothing she said. "I barely know anything about my own father and mother/'
"Well, honey, 111 tell you one thing," said old Henry. "Your mama was a very pretty woman—not as pretty as I am because I favor the Pechets~but she was handsome, had hair hanging down to her waist, always very gay dispositioned. And I thought she was smart till I found out who she was gonna marry."
"You mean Ed La Menthe?" said Colas.
"That's who, F. P. La Menthe-*Jelly Roll Mortons father-a nice-lookin light brown-skin Creole, but wild." Old Heniy wagged his head, "Very wild/'
"Ed had himself a good livin, too/' Colas sighed. "Carpen­ter, demolished buildings, and owned a couple of properties, but he was a f ourflusher/'
"Sho he was. Do you remember how him and Paul went to Haiti in the big war? Government interpreters. Interpreted so much government money they landed in the pen/' old Henry chuckled.
"Is that why Mama left him?" Amede asked.
"No, no, honey/' said old Henry. "She left him long before. Louise taken it from Ed till it came up to here." Henry made a vivid gesture across his throat, "And then she threw it off. Ferd was just a kid then... ."
There was a pause while old Henry squinted back at the past through the curling cigarette smoke, remembering big-timing Ed La Menthe. How close-mouthed Jelly had been about his father!
"You couldn't dislike that Ed/' said Henry, half to himself.