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
a thing.' But that's the way it was in my time among us Creoles. You had to take lessons before you could touch your instru­ment.
"Downtown here, the Creole people are slow. Maybe they depend a little too much on their pride. Don't mix with every­body. Don't trust everybody. They always in for society. But we had better quality musicians down here. Mostly note read­ers. In the best bands, they was Downtown here with us. The American section it was Robechaux's and he use mostly Downtown men. .. .
"Uptown, in the American part, other side of Canal Street, the people had different way. They worked in white folks' houses or down along the river. They were more sociable and more like entertainers. They played more rougher, more head music, more blues. . . . The blues? Ain't no first blues. The blues always been. Blues is what cause the fellows to start jazzing."
Louis' ironic speech, his dark skin, his short tight-napped hair, showed a strong African heritage. Probably the Creoles. of the Seventh Ward never completely accepted him. Poor, dark and declasse, Louis understood the blues and felt at home with the Uptown musicians he met in Storyville.
"The sporting district come to have all the best musicians because die pay was every night. Just take the comer of Iber­ville and Franklin—four saloons on the four comers—the 25's, 28, The Pig Ankle, and Shoto's. Those places had eight bands amongst them. Four on day and four on night. And they changed bands like you change underclothes.
"It was lively round there. In 25's they had a ham hanging from the chandelier about six feet up. Any woman could kick that ham, she could take it home. Tve seen many a one crack their butts trying, but they didn't mind and we sure didn't mind seeing their legs. Very often they got the ham, because they used to have a high-kicking bunch around this old town." Old Louis almost smiled.
"Me, I went in the District when I was fifteen and I tell you