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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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simple-minded notions and that he was wrongheaded and im­moral to cling to them, he never could give them up. Naturally, his stubborn refusal to accept and appreciate the business order of things caused him to be misunderstood and even dis­liked.
In his eyes the Melrose Brothers were a couple of nice young fellows from Kentucky that needed a break. Lester had tried out for catcher on the White Sox, but, failing there, had gone to work as a $10-a-week clerk at Marshall Field's. Walter, who took after his mother and liked to play piano, found his metier when he rented a garage-front across from the Tivoli Movie Palace and started a little music store, calling Lester in to help. Jesse Crawford used to tip the boys off about the tunes he planned to feature on his organ program; thus they stocked up and sold what they stocked. One day Ted Lewis told them about the new Negro music and they began hanging around the South Side, looking for their opportunity. They claim to have been the first to suggest King Oliver s band and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings to the Gennett Record Com­pany. "The records sold like crazy," which caused the Melrose boys to become very, very interested in jazz. It was at this mo­ment that Morton galloped into their store.
"Those Melrose brothers fust had a little old dirty shop until Jelly came along. His tunes made them millions," one oldtime Chicago musician observed. "After Melrose began publishing those numbers for Jelly Roll and other colored artists, he began to click," said another homblower who was there and saw what he saw. When these remarks were quoted to Lester Melrose, he got mad. "Listen, mister/* he said with the veins standing out on his heavy neck and his face flushing with rage, "Jelly Roll wouldn't have been nothing if it hadn't been for Melrose. We made Jelly and we made all the rest of them. We made the blues. After all, we are here and where are they? Nowhere.9*
Certainly time and tax assessments argue that Lester is right. The Melrose boys have comfortable homes and fat bank ac-