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Where the Birth of Jazz Originated from 43
obs for pianists than any other ten places in the world. The porting-houses needed professors, and we had so many differ-nt styles that whenever you came to New Orleans, it wouldn't make any difference that you just came from Paris or any part f England, Europe, or any place—whatever your tunes were ver there, we played them in New Orleans.
I might mention some of our pianists . . . Sammy Davis, ne of the greatest manipulators of the keyboard I guess I have ever seen in the history of the world. . . . Alfred Wilson and Albert Cahill, they were both great pianists and both of them were colored. Poor Alfred Wilson, the girls taken to him and showed him a point where he didn't have to work. He finally came to be a dope fiend and smoked so much dope till he died. Albert Cahili didn't smoke dope, but he ruined his eyes staying up all night, gambling. Albert was known as the greatest show player that ever was in existence as I can remember. Then there was Kid Ross, a white boy and one of the outstanding hot players of the country.
All these men were hard to beat, but when Tony Jackson walked in, any one of them would get up from the piano stool If he didn't, somebody was liable to say, "Get up from that piano. You hurting its feelings. Let Tony play." Tony was real dark and not a bit good-looking, but he had a beautiful disposition. He was the outstanding favorite of New Orleans, and I have never known any pianists to come from any section of the world that could leave New Orleans victorious.
Tony was considered among all who knew him the greatest single-handed entertainer in the world.* His memory seemed like something nobody's ever heard of in the music world. He was known as the man of a thousand songs. There was no tune that come up from any opera or any show of any kind or anything that was wrote on paper that Tony couldn't play. He had such a beautiful voice and a marvelous range. His voice on an opera tune was exactly as an opera singer. His
* Johnny St. Cyr said . . . Really the best pianist we had was Tony Jackson, but, with the exception of Tony Jackson, Jelly Roll was the man.