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Mr. Handy cannot prove anything in music that be has created. He has possibly taken advantage of sane unprotected material that ioats around . . . ITiis very minute, yon have confronting the world all kinds of Kings, Czars, Dukes, Princes and Originators of Swing. (Swing is just another name for jazz) and they know that the titles are deceiving. ... I would like to put a lie tester on many of these make-believe stalwarts of originality. Mr. Ripley, these untruthful statements Mr. Handy has made, or caused you to make, will maybe cause him to be branded the most dastardly imposter in the history of music.
. . . Please do not misunderstand me. I do not claim any of the creation of the blues, although I have written many of them even before Mr. Handy had any blues published. . . . Music is such a tremendous proposition that it probably needs government supervision. . . . There are many who enjoy glory plus financial gains and abundance, even in the millions, who should be digging ditches or sweeping the streets. Lack of proper protection causes this. ... I only give you facts that you may force your pal to his rightful position in fair life. Lord protect us from more Hitlers and Mussolinis.
Very truly yours,
JELLY ROLL MORTON
Originator of Jazz and Stomps
World s Greatest Hot Tune Writer
This article rocked the jazz world and put Jelly's name back in the headlines. There were some who felt that Handy's mild retort in Downbeat was all the answer Jelly's blast deserved. "Handy could afford to be charitable and slightly contemptuous of Morton, the old whorehouse pianist who seemed to be trying to loud-mouth his way back to big time, attacking any-