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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Ohio, the interior of Canada, and all up through the New England States, playing the best places such as Narragansett Pier. In the time I was with him he never went South, I don t know why.
The band all wore black tuxedos, but Jelly Roll wore a wine-red jacket and tie to match, white pants and white shoes. He directed the band himself, used to cut a lot of capers, then sit down at that piano with that great big smile of his, and, I'm telling you, he was a sensation. He never carried a singer with his band. He took the solos on piano and then the rest of the band didn't mean anything. They would just stop dead and all the people would gather around the stand to look and to hear. Jelly had two perfect hands for the piano—not like some players, one hand good and the other weak—he was just as good in the bass clef as in the treble. It was a wonderful thing to listen to him every night
You see, I was right with him on the bandstand at ever}-date. He was very jealous, didn't like anybody to speak to me—in fact he would get mad at his best friends if they so much as pass the time of day with me, but he wanted me there, dressed my best, so everybody could see me. Sometimes the boys in the band would ask him to let me sing, but he would never allow that. He used to tell me, "After all, Im the big thing here and it would be bad for me if I shared with you my popularity." To tell you the truth, he was a little too jealous in that way, because after a while I began to want to go on with my professional career.
He was Number One hot band then. All the others, like Ellington and Calloway and Basie and those, came up after. Jelly was first. Just like when you plant a seed, the others came along up, but Jelly was first. And he was so well liked by the white people that he never had to play a colored en­gagement; the colored places couldn't afford him. Only time colored people saw him was when he dropped into a cabaret for a drink, an announcement would be made and everybody would stand up to get a look at him. Really, Jelly Roll didn't