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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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and quietly resumed trade, honkey-tonk business slumped and the jazzmen were on the street. Many dropped out of the music business for good. Some went back to their old trades for a bit—"I just went on back to plastering. . . ." "Picked up my cotton hook and right down on the river again. . . " Others swung on board the steamers of the Streckfus Excursion Lines, playing in those highly disciplined, but red-hot bands that in­formed every town along the Mississippi of the new American music.
As the red lights went out in Storyville, the money and the glory finally departed New Orleans. The grand procession of wedding-caked riverboats and snake-hipped lumberrafts had long since petered out into a trickle of drab barges. The rail­roads had put the Crescent City and her river on the antique list and had elected Chicago, the rail hub, capital of the great valley. So the word went down the line—"Man, Chicago is the money town, and listen, you can be a man in Chicago." Eventually most competent jazzmen caught the Northbound Illinois Central
The shift of New Orleans musicians to Chicago was only a gracenote in a big movement. The factories and mills of war­time America needed fresh supplies of labor and for the first time were hiring great numbers of Negroes. Those factory whistles cried freedom to the black masses down in Dixie, im­poverished by sharecropping and segregation. They left their mules in the cotton rows; they ceded to Mr. Jim Crow his un-paved back alleys. And, unmoved by either the promises or the threats of their white bosses, who, suddenly concerned for their health, told them would die of homesickness in cruel, cold Yankeeland, they headed North in one of the remarkable migrations of human history. In five years a half miUion Negroes moved North, one tenth of them settling in Chicago's South Side.
Thus the jazzmen of New Orleans found in Chicago an audi­ence of newly independent Negroes, fresh from South U. S. A., hungry for Southern Negro music and able to pay for it.