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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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sing. 1 always want people around me. It gives me a warm heart and that gets into my music . . /'
Yes, here was the African tradition speaking—music as a release of vital energy in repeated rhythmic figures which call for an infinity of variation. Music for the blacks was not pri­marily an avenue of self-advancement, as with the Creoles, but, first of all, sheer, unadulterated joy. "As the saying goes," Johnny St. Cyr said in his warm, velvety voice, "Back in those days we didn't make a lot of money, but we had a lot of fun."
Johnny went on to develop his theory of jazz and it was quite apparent that he agreed with Jelly Roll on every import­ant point. What Jelly Roll had said was New Orleans jazz theory.
"In New Orleans we had a system of playing, so as to get all the sweetness out of the music. We play the first theme mezzo-forte, the second very soft, and the last time we play the sec­ond theme, everybody gets hot." (Exactly the plan of Jelly's records.) 'Them times you had to toe the mark. Whatever you did had to be good. No off-key playing. You had to keep within the boundaries of the melody, but our old heads had great ability to beautify a number.
"We had our own way of doing. When we'd buy the regular stock arrangements, we would familiarize ourselves with the melody and then add what we wanted till we sounded like we had special orchestrations. Then we'd cut off the names at the top of the music in order to throw everybody off scent. It used to make the music publishers so mad they wanted to tear up the sidewalk. But what could they do . . . ?" Johnny's laugh rattled the windows.
Black and tan musicians were driving the music publishers crazy, as they pooled their ideas and played them hot, but at the personal level, old prejudices operated. ... "I guess the most popular trumpet player with the mulatto race was Kep-pard." Said Johnny, "He was brown-skin man, light-brown, but, when you come darker than Keppard, you didn't score with the mulattoes at all. They wouldn't invite us to none of