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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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eration of jazzmen suddenly appeared, blessed with the gifts of both Uptown and Downtown, and playing it all "with heart/' The golden boy of this golden generation, in the minds of New Orleans Creoles, was their own boy, Sidney Bechet
"Sidney/' said one ancient, "had a clarinet all wrapped around with rubber bands, and when he'd begin to play the roaches would all run out of it—but that little devil, just about twelve years old, he could outplay Freddie Keppard!"
"I used to see Sidney around Piron's barbershop," said an­other. "Now, Piron had a house full of every kind of instru­ment. So this little boy, he come in one day and pick up the flute, What is that?' he ask Piron. 'That is a flute, Sidney/ Piron tell him. So Sidney start right in playing it. Show Piron what is a flute. Put that down. Walk over and pick up a saxo­phone and say, "What is that?' 'That's a new something they call a saxophone, son/ Well, it look like a pipe to me, I see if this pipe will make a tune/ And be damn if he didn't start mak­ing the thing just talk!"
Jelly Roll, too, was such a "natural," but he was a waif who laid cold plans to conquer the world with "original ideas,"" whereas Bechet, whose family loved and protected him, wanted only to sing to people:—perhaps the difference between the music of these two great Creole jazzmen may be so explained At any rate, Sidney Bechet's story, as Doctor Bechet, his brother tells it, bears upon Jelly's history because it shows the final blending of Uptown and Downtown and the unabashed emotional flowering of jazz in Sidney's playing.
It is always a hard thing to have a genius right in the family. Dr. Leonard Bechet certainly loves his brother, Sidney, with all his heart (and this heart seems to be as generous as the Missis­sippi), but he still speaks about this prodigious younger brother with considerable nervousness.
". . . It's like I tell you, I think I could have become a fine musician if I had only kept on," Dr. Bechet began somewhere in the middle of a thought. "I took trambone lessons, but then