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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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The Family
"It's real sad to me/' said Amede, "That I never heard Ferd in person but one time in my life. He came by the house and I asked him to go across the street to a neighbor's and play for me. That day I remember Ferd was wearing a loud silk candy-striped shirt and loud suspenders. . . ."
"Kind you have to put under the mattress to keep um from running off," M. Colas chuckled.
"Yes," Amede agreed, "he was dressed kind of rowdy. Grandma got to fussin at him and he told her he wasn't goin to stay around to be fussed at, and then he left New Orleans and never did come back. When we'd get letters he'd always tell us to pray and make novenas. We had to look up the places he was traveling in the geography."
"Well, he was like that from a boy/' said Henry, "Never stopped running. Always on the go. After he began that piano, we never had any of his time at all."
"I always used to tell Amede I wished Jelly could have come back home. There's no place like New Orleans, after all," said M. Colas.
"Well, I reckon you have to hustle to get as far as Ferd did,w said old Henry with a dry chuckle, seeming very pleased with himself that he had never tried to get away.
"Hustling was just what grandmother called it," said Amede. "She told Ferd that anybody who went on the stage, doing things in public, was just common. And she raised us not to boast about Ferd's playing. Of course, now I'm real proud of my brother. . . ."
An afternoon of casual gossip in a little gray house of the Eighth Ward, an hour or so of chuckling with Morton's amiĀ­able relations, and then the painful burden of his secrets, the sorrow of his lies and his pretensions gradually began to show behind the diamond-crusted grin. Jelly Roll, in all candor, could have begun by saying, "I never have been sure of the exact year of my birth and I can't be certain that I'm legitiĀ­mate. My mother came from a line of respectable Creole house-servants and cigar-makers. My father was a fouriusher, who