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
My head is in a daze, My new recruit is mighty cute-Yes, Tm crazy 'bout my sweet substitute*
About this same time Jelly suddenly discovered the Depres­sion. His reaction was typical of his fathomless, boundless, limitless, humorless, and altogether Celliniesque ego. He ad­dressed a long letter to F.D.R. outlining a plan which he felt would put every American musician back to work in six months. The plan was to pay off in jobs like a chain letter. . . .
Jelly Roll invades Baltimore with government backing, or­ganizes a Jelly Roll hot New Orleans band there, using unem­ployed Baltimore musicians. This band, naturally, causes a sensation. Turnstiles of the empty dance halls begin to click again; and, while the remspired Baltimore musicians are branching out, founding yet more hot bands on the Morton principle, and filling more dance halls, Morton himself attacks moribund Philadelphia, lights up cold Quakertown with a magic orchestra, which in turn gives birth to more orchestras, Morton having rolled on, meanwhile, and the Baltimore magic having spread on its own to Annapolis and Hagerstown. So Mister Jelly Rolfs progress across America produces a rebirth of the music business, the orchestras multiplying back down the trail like Schmoos, the unemployment problem for musi­cians is solved, and more important still, the people of the U.S., hearing the happy music of New Orleans, forget their troubles and throw Old Man Depression into the ashcan where he belongs. The cost of this scheme—Jelly's traveling expenses. He was willing to contribute his time and talent to the cause.
There was something quite disarming about Morton's sin­cerity. He spoke of himself as an impersonal force that could be used by the government to lick the Depression . . . How fine it would have been for all of us if this New Orleans fan­tasy could have taken possession of our national music! What
* Lyrics printed by permission of Tempo Music Publishing Co., copyright owners.