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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Those Battles of Music
Fortunately, I was popular right at that time, because some guys were going hungry.
There was a big slump in business; they was handing around drafts that were supposed to be as good as a dollar but weren't. The work in the highclass mansions fell off and so 1 had to take gigs and small-time band jobs. It seemed tough at the time, but, looking back now, I know that a depression was a good break for me, because 1 learned the band business.
Some guy would come up to me and say, "Winding Boy, there's a parade coming up in such and such a club. Do you want the job? It means five dollars for the leader and two-and-a-half apiece for the men." So I would elect myself leader and go around and get me a band. That wasn't much trouble, be­cause the boys knew there would be plenty to drink even if the pay wasn't nothing.
All we had in a band, as a rule, was bass horn, trombone, trumpet, an alto horn and maybe a baritone horn, bass, and snare drums—just seven pieces, but, talking about noise, you never heard a sixty-piece band make as much noise as we did. Sometimes I would play trombone, sometimes bass drums or sometimes the snares, but it really didn't matter; the main part was the swell time we had—the girls giving us the hurrah when we passed, the boys getting drunk and picking up the horses, and the fights which we enjoyed watching. Sometimes the big organized bands would get the jobs—fellows like Emanuel Perez or Buddy Bolden—and then they would always arrange to meet and have a battle of music in the streets. Those battles of music were something that has never been seen outside of New Orleans. In fact, we had the kind of fun I don t think Tve seen any other place. There may be as nice a fun, but that particular kind there never was anywhere else on the face of the globe. Rain didn't stop nobody. It never got cold enough to stop nobody. We musicians stayed there because we felt it was the town,
I might name some of the jazz musicians I heard around that period, because these boys taught everybody the style that