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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Hello, Central Give Me Doctor Jazz                                    187
counts; they have got somewhere. Bunk Johnson died in poverty down in Kew Iberia-Louis Nelson, on charity in New Orleans -King Oliver without a dime in Georgia-the Negroes who created jazz have mostly died broke or had to leave jazz to keep from starving to death-that's "nowhere." Even the great Ellington band still has never had a long ran radio show.
It was more profitable to publish and own music than it was to compose or play it-Jelly Roll was beginning to see that. Therefore he resolved to throw in his lot with the Melrose boys. The money was in records, sheet music and band booking-Oliver wasn't making it. Yon had to be in business. Jelly needed the Melroses as today some Negroes still feel they need a white man to "talk for" them in business deals. Thirty years ago, when Negroes did not know business and business did not know Negroes, white go-betweens were esĀ­sential to both sides. Legitimate businessmen, truly devoted to hot music in their own fashion, they sold the tunes and talent of the black ghettos to the record companies, linking the folk-jazz half-world to the super-respectable and stuffy world of the music business.
Although the big corporations were slow to respond ("Victor's manager threw me out of his office when 1 first proposed the hot idea/' said Walter Melrose), they took a firm hold on the jazz field when they did enter it. Thus, when King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton encountered the Melrose boys and the Melrose boys went to the record companies, the first step in the ultimate big corporation control and exploitation of jazz had been taken. As the years rolled up the profits, the Melrose boys, in their turn, began to have a grievance.
"I never got paid a penny of salary from the big companies as a talent scout," said Lester Melrose. "I took my chances on some of the tunes 1 recorded being hits, and 1 wouldn't record anybody unless he signed all his rights in those tunes over to me." (Until a short time ago this was the accepted, if not the completely open, practice of the record industry in deal-