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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Jetty Roll Blues
The first sign was put out Thursday. On Sunday there was two policemen holding the crowd back. The entertainers were highclass, and the band, the second Dixieland combination in the country, was in my name—Jelly Roll Morion and His In-comparables. It consisted of myself on piano, Menus on drums, Henry Massingill on trombone, Horace George on clarinet and John Armstrong on trumpet* We were the hottest thing in Chicago those days. In fact I got the offer to go with Vernon and Irene Castle, the great ballroom dancers, on their E^m-pean tour, but I turned it down because I felt that I was mry permanent at the Elite (I have since learned there is nothing permanent in the entertainment business), and I was making $50 a week when everyone else was making about $17, Any­how, Jim Reece Europe went on that tour, took my clarinet player, and they featured my Jelly Roll Blues ail across the continent . . * (Isn't wrhiskey a wonderful thing at times!}
To show you how that job had me tied down, one night a very beautiful woman offered to take me to California and backed her proposition by filling my hat with money. I said 1 was very sony; it looked like al the money in the world to me, but I liked Chicago. Then some history fell on me that caused me to change my mind. It was all through relatives.
My brother-in-law, Bill Johnson had gone into Freddie Kep-pard's Tuxedo Band to play bass fiddle, and, as Bill was a very, very good-looking boy in those days and all the girls taken to him and those bad chords on his bass fiddle and that song he sung • . .
Let me he your salty dog,
I doni want to be your man at all . . *
he taken over the Tuxedo Band. So Bil heard about California from me and he wrote my wife * and she financed a trip for the five pieces plus guitar and bass. On entering Los Angeles, the Tuxedo Band made such a tremendous success that the Pantages Circuit signed them immediately. They toured the
* Anita Gonzales, Bil Johnson's sister, whose sudden appearance in this story is somewhat explained hy the chapter that follows.