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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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The Boys in the Bands
Pete Lala's and the Frenchman's just a couple of squares away. The 25's had never closed and the whiskey was still flowing fast. Instead of a little band in the corner, a jukebox boomed. . Paul and I had spent the day together, visiting old man Picou, peering at the black crayon scrawling on the unmarked tomb of Marie Laveau, queen of voodoo in the Delta. Paul had told me, in his own way, the history of his people. Now he traced a slow design on the table top with his birdlike fiddler's finger, smiling a little, looking at me speculatively and shyly.
"What you say if they refused to serve you?" he said at last.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, after all, thees ees a colored place and they not sup­pose to entertain white guests. If I was to go in the Absinthe House, they wouldn't serve me, good as my hair is," Paul pulled at his stiff and unkinked white locks, "And good looking as I am" He smiled gently. But for his brownish-gray skin, Paul might have served as model for a bust of a proconsul.
"What would I tell them, Paul?" I smiled back.
"That you were colored, naturally. Then they would have to serve you. You can drink anywhere, that's your advantage over me." His tone was friendly. "See these people down here are very prejudiced. And your color makes all the difference. Now that guy just coming in. He's real dark, ain't he? I know him good. He's a fine man, but, much as I don't want to say anything about him, his colors against him." (The man was a dark, handsome and inteUigent-looking Negro.)
"He's black and he's got bad hair," Paul went on* "If he should go down to vote, for an instance, he hasn't so much opportunity. . . . But when they see me, they know what type of fellow I am—a Creole. Not that I'm better than any­body, but they know I'm different. People on my light type have a better opportunity everywhere—stores, court, voting, all that stuff. But die Johnny yonder, they won't consider him. And if he's intelligent, so much the worse. . . "
"Just what is a Creole, Paul, the way you see it?"
"Ill explain to the best of my ability," Paul replied, with