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
stable community life to support them. They were orphaned by the color of their skins. If they became professional musi­cians, it was only by virtue of exceptional talent and drive, "You got to go some to play for Negroes/5 said Bechet. . . ,
Johnny St. Cyr, Jelly Rolfs favorite guitarist, belonged to this group even though he had Creole blood. "A man around my color just didn't score with the Creoles," he said. Besides, St. Cyr s widowed seamstress mother raised her family in the slums "back of town." At fourteen Johnny "took up the plaster­ing trade" and began to play guitar on the side. Years later in Chicago he became the star guitarist of hot music, recording with Armstrong, Morton, Oliver and all the best bands. De­pression brought him back to New Orleans and his old trade of plastering. In the normal course of things, he still plays weekend dances and runs a spare-time auto-wrecking business. A big, rangy, philosophical working-stiff, he has his own views on jazz:
"A jazz musician have to be a working class of man, out in the open all the time, healthy and strong. That's what's wrong today; these new guys haven't got the force. They don't like to play all night; they don't think they can play unless they're loaded. But a working man have the power to play hot-whiskey or no whiskey. You see, the average working man is very musical. Playing music for him is just relaxing. He gets as much kick out of playing as the other folks get out of dancing." (Here St. Cyr has clearly stated the African feeling about music—music as a source of energy, rather than a demand for it.) "The more enthusiastic his audience is, why, the more spirit the working man's got to play. And with your natural feelings that way, you never make the same thing twice. Every time you play a tune, new ideas come to mind and you slip that on in."
St. Cyr's credo brought back the beautiful lines of Jim Rob­inson, black New Orleans trombonist . . . "If everyone is in a friskv spirit, the spirit gets to me and I can make my trombone