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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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The Family
clothes, the fondness for notoriety, and especially the music in eveiy line of which one can find the voice of the "slidin tram-bone"—was a search for his lost father and a triumph over him.
Here in the shadows of this Creole parlor, the ghosts that haunted Jelly Roll Morton were coming into the light. Amede said, "Maybe some of us is 'outside' children, because I don I know for sure that Mama was really married to Jelly's daddy or to mine. Im not even certain how old I am or Jelly, either. I believe Mimi said I was bom in 1897 and I always heard Jelly was eleven years older, but I don't know"
This explained why Jelly Roll could juggle his age as it suited him—writing 1888 on his insurance policy, giving 1885 on the Library of Congress records since this year put him in StoryviUe earlier than most other jazzmen and gave him plenty of historical elbow room, and telling his wife the year was 1886. It was this last date that checked with Amede's recollec­tion.
"1 don't know for sure/' she sighed. "We tried to find out, but the old parish church had burnt with all the birth records/'
Old Henry chuckled, "Don t worry. You wouldn't find nothing about Ed LaMenthe in no parish record."
"Where did the name Morton come in?"
"That was my daddy, Willie Morton," said Amede, answer­ing my unspoken thought. "I can't tell anything about him. I don't even know whether he was living or not after mother died. AH I know is I didn't see no daddy and I didn't see no mama."