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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
occasionally in Jackson Hall, a much nicer place on the comer of Jackson and Franklin. I had an opportunity to be in Jackson Hall one afternoon, when Mr. Bolden was playing a matinee. A little incident happened which will show you the type en­vironments that produced hot music.
There was a man standing at the bar, a little bit of a short fellow. Seemingly he was sick with rheumatism. A great big husky guy steps on this little guy's foot (I was just in between them) and they got into an argument and the little guy didn't want to stand for it and pulled out a great big gun, almost as long as he was old, and shot, and if I hadn't pulled my stomach back, I wouldn't be here to tell you the history of jazz. This big guy laid there on the floor, dead, and, my good­ness, Buddy Bolden—he was up on the balcony with the band—started blazing away with his trumpet, trying to keep the crowd together. Many of us realized it was a killing and we started breaking out windows and through doors and just run over the policemen they had there.
After I got on the outside, I felt that I was safe and I decided I would look on and see what would happen. When the patrol pulled up, they took the dead man and laid him in the bottom of the patrol wagon and then here comes the little cripple man that shot him, and, finally, Buddy Bolden. I've often won­dered why they would put Mister Bolden in the patrol when he was up there blowing high notes to keep everyone quiet.
Of course, things like this killing weren't taken too seriously in New Orleans in those periods. It was a law in New Orleans that anyone could carry a gun that wanted to, almost; the fine was only ten dollars or thirty days in the market, your job being to clean up the market in the morning. Most of prisoners ran away, so the thirty days didn't mean anything.
We all felt funny when we saw Buddy Bolden riding the calaboose, because he was our favorite in the Garden District.*
* Bunk Johnson, who played with Bolden, confirmed this, adding . . .
"Of course the whites said, *We don t want no King Bolden. Robechaux's the band/ John Robechaux had a note-reading band that play the hotels and all the big places. They called Bolden's Band a 'routineer' bunch, a bunoh of