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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Interlude 0ne
able to come down in order to go up. If a glass of water is full, you can't fill it any more; but if you have a half a glass, you have the opportunity to put more water in it. Jazz music is based on the same principles, because jazz is based on strictly music. You have the finest ideas from the greatest operas, sym­phonies and overtures in jazz music. There is nothing finer than jazz music because it comes from everything of the finest class music. Take the Sextet from Lucia and the Miserery from III Travadore, that they used to play in the French Opera House, tunes that have always lived in my mind as the great favorites of the opera singers; I transformed a lot of those numbers into jazz time,* using different little variations and ideas to masquerade the tunes.
The Tiger Rag, for an instance, I happened to transform from an old quadrille, which was originally in many different tempos. First there was an introduction, "Everybody get your partners V9 and the people would be rushing around the hall getting their partners. After a five minute lapse of time, the next strain would be the waltz strain . . . then another strain that comes right beside the waltz strain hi mazooka time. . . .
We had two other strains in two-four time. Then I trans­formed these strains into the Tiger Rag which I also named, from the way I made the "tiger" roar with my elbow. A person said once, "That sounds like a tiger hollering.'* I said to myself, "That's the name." All this happened back in the early days before the Dixieland Band was ever heard of.
* Tune 5, Appendix I.