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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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My next job was playing for a white sporting-house woman named Mattie Bailey. Nobody but white came there, and, as it was a dangerous place, I always carried a .38 Special. Mattie Bailey would keep me behind to close up the place for her, and, because I was always the last man out, talk began to get around that something was going on between the two of us. By her being a white woman, they didn't approve of my being intimate with her, as they thought. One day she told me they were talking about lynching me and right then I decided it was time for me to roll on back to my good old home town, New Orleans.
So in the year of 1902 when 1 was about seventeen years old I happened to invade one of the sections where the birth of jazz originated from. Some friends took me to The French­man's on the corner of Villere and Bienville, which was at that time the most famous nightspot after everything was closed. It was only a back room, but it was where all the greatest pianists frequented after they got off from work in the sporting houses. About four a.m., unless plenty of money was involved on their jobs, they would go to The Frenchman's and there would be everything in the line of hilarity there.
All the girls that could get out of their houses was there. The millionaires would come to listen to their favorite pianists. There weren't any discrimination of any kind. They all sat at different tables or anywhere they felt like sitting. They all mingled together just as they wished to and everyone was just like one big happy family. People came from all over the country and most times you couldn't get in. So this place would go on at a tremendous rate of speed—plenty money, drinks of all kinds—from four o'clock in the morning until maybe twelve, one, two, or three o'clock in the daytime. Then, when the great pianists used to leave, the crowds would leave.
New Orleans was the stomping grounds for all the greatest pianists in the country. We had Spanish, we had colored, we had white, we had Frenchmens, we had Americans, we had them from all parts of the world, because there were more