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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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has enriched stuffed bellies; it has corrupted the innocent; it has betrayed and it has traduced; but, everywhere and in all its forms, something jazz acquired at the moment of its origin has profoundly touched all its hearers. What was this thing that set folks dancing and smiling from the slums of New Orleans to all the capitals of the earth?
"We had all nations in New Orleans," said Jelly Roll; "But with the music we could creep in close to other people/' adds Dr. Bechet . . . Jazz was the hybrid of hybrids and so it ap­pealed to a nation of lonely immigrants. In a divided world struggling blindly toward unity, it became a cosmopolitan musical argot. This new musical language owes its emotional power to the human triumph accompMshed at the moment of its origin in New Orleans—a moment of cultural ecstasy.
Two neighborhoods, disjoined by all the sordid fears of our time, were forced to make a common cause. This musical union demanded that there be not merely acceptance and under­standing, but respect and love on both sides. In this moment of ecstasy an interracial marriage was consummated, and the child of this union still jumps for joy wherever jazz is hot. Perhaps it is so wherever peoples share their treasures and a truly fresh stream of culture begins to -flow. Such moments of cultural ecstasy may occur prior to all great cultural move­ments just as seeding precedes birth.
That this Hack and tan wedding took place in the streets of Storyville, streets thronging with pimps, chippies, rotten police, and Babbitts on a binge, may forever have stained this other­wise lusty and life-giving proletarian art. As Jelly and the others have indicated, Storyville involved all the musicians in its principal trade. It made them guilty on the very score their families so feared—dragging the family name in the gutter. Yet there was a toughness in jazz that laughed at all that, the toughness of black-skinned Americans like Bolden and Bunk Johnson who would Toll themselves playing so hard." These black Americans had no music lessons, no family name and no