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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Eetto, Central, Give Me Doctor Jazz
least, Jelly was working with musicians who respected him. Among them was Johnny St. Cyr, the great New Orleans string man who set many Chicago sessions on fire. Johnny felt more independent than Simeon, but his respect for Jelly Roll was no less. Having played with both King Oliver and Morton. Johnny knew which man was more capable.
"Now Jelly wTas a very, very agreeable man to cut a record with and 111 tell yon why. . . . He'd never give you any of your specialties, he'd leave it to your own judgment, say, 'You take a break here/. . . and 'Clarinet!! take a break here/ That's what cause his records to have more variety than you find on Joe Oliver's records, for an instance. See, Joe, he got on the strictly legitimate side when he got to recording. It had to be just so with him and that cause the men to be working under a tension and thev couldn't give vent to their feeling's, as they would like to."
"But Jelly Roll would ask me, "Can you make a break here?"
"I tell him, "Okay/
"He say, "All right, we going over it. Xow when we get there, vou make the break. Okay, let's take it/
"Just let your conscience be your guide, see," Johnny went on. "If you sounded good, all right. If you didn't sound so good, he'd say 'Wait a minute, that don't sound so good, see if you can t make something else/
"You'd try something else and get something that sounded good to him. Or, if you couldn't get the idea right then, why he'd give the break to someone else.
" "You try it on the clarinet,5 or Ton try it on the trumpet/
"Reason his records are so full of tricks and changes is the liberty he gave his men. Sometimes we ask him—we get an idea, see—and we ask him to let us play a certain break, and he was always open for suggestions. . . /'
"Always open for suggestions"—this characterization is hard to associate with Mister Jelly Roll. Yet it is evident in St. Cyr's and Simeon's stories that Jelly knew how to gentle his temperamental New Orleans virtuosos into playing exactly