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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Jelly Roll never accepted such limitations with good grace. As his Chicago publisher put it, "Je% ^°^ was not a g00^ old-time Southern darkey like Joe Oliver." He must have talked back loud and long to the racketeers. If they were too fond of his music to kill him, they were not so charitable as to alow him to make his mark in the gin-mill circuit. The word went around town that it was unhealthy to work with Jelly—a band leader whose ambitions extended bevond the music stand. The wTay the boys in the bands put it—That Jelly Roll is too notoriety? So Jelly Roll Morton, who organized some of the finest recording and touring bands of the Ws, never held an orchestral job in Chicago.
Still Jelly must have smiled to himself that May evening of 1928, when he hit the windy city on the lake. Everywhere he went he heard New Orleans jazz rolling like sweet thunder. His riffs, his ideas—Keppard's ideas—Boldens drive—the march tunes that set you dancing in the street—the lazy sweets of the blues out of the cornucopias of horns—the bands were really fine. King Oliver's, Cooke's, Jimmy Noone's and lots more were playing good music and established in the best places. Jelly laid low and listened, according to habit, looking for his angle, planning how he could start at the top where he belonged. He needed money right away for new clothes and to send for Anita.
... Jazz might be a big business at last, with maybe millions in it The Melrose brothers must have thought so or they wouldn't have wired such a big advance for The Wolverines. And they were playing The Wolverines all WTong, with a heavy old-fashioned street-band beat. . . . Jelly thought of the shifting, dancing cross-rhythms of his new compositions. He could show them all how. Writing the music down, organizing it, systematizing it, selling it so the whole world could play New Orleans style—that was the way to cash in and lead the pack.
Jelly's grin grew wider as he stood at the entrance of the