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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Jelly Rolll Blues
. . . It was along about that time that the first hot arĀ­rangements came into existence. Up until then, everything had been in the heads of the men who played jazz out of New Orleans. Nowadays they talk about these jam sessions. Well, that is something I never permitted. Most guys, they improvise and they'll go wrong. Most of the so-called jazz musicians still don't know how to play jazz until this day; they don t underĀ­stand the principles of jazz music. In all my recording sessions and in all my band work, I always wrote out the arrangements in advance. When it was a New Orleans man, that wrasn t so much trouble, because those boys knew a lot of my breaks; but in traveling from place to place I found other musicians had to be taught. So around 1912 I began to write down this peculiar form of mathematics and harmonics that was strange to all the world.
For a time 1 had been working with McCabe's Minstrel Show and, when that folded in St. Louis, 1 began looking around for a job. My goodness, the snow was piled up till you couldn't see the streetcars. I was afraid that I'd meet some piano player that could top me a whole lot, so I wouldn't admit that I could play. I claimed that 1 was a singer. At that time I kinda figured i was a pretty good singer, which wTas way out of the way, but I figured it anyhow. Well, I was hired at the Democratic Club where they had a piano player named George Randalls. He was a bricklayer trying to play piano. He couldn't even read music. In fact, none of the boys couldn't read much and so it was very tough for them to get those