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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Appendix One
ever Jelly explained to Ken Huisizer that he thought Louis lacked ability to "improvise on the theme." If anyone should think Jelly's attitude unduly presumptuous let him but listen to the trio section of Frog-i-more to discover Jelly's own phenomenal skill in variation. And if one were to study the four different versions of The Fearls or the half dozen recordings of Mr. Jelly Lord, and perhaps also take time to compare some of these variations with the published versions, he would begin to get an idea of Jelly's unlimited imagination and mastery of motival variation, and possibly understand why Jelly Roll had a right to say something on the subject of "improvisation."
The beautiful chorale-like melody of the Frog-i-more trio is first played very simply, in a style reminiscent of the sustained trio of Wolverine Blues. This first statement, marked "organ chorus," in the Melrose publication, is played entirely in the treble range. On paper the tune, with its constantly repeated motive, presents a singularly four­square appearance, but Jelly's performance is a revelation of rhythmic variety by means of such devices as shifted accents, slight delays, and anticipations. Of course, to some of our European-trained "critics" this is only a bad per­formance, by a pianist unable to keep correct timey of a piece any third-grade conservatory pupil could play right off at sight. Curiously, as raggy as Jelly's performance of this chorale is, it nevertheless is in perfect time; the regu­lar pulse can be felt throughout with no loss at all in momentum.
The real marvel of this record, however, is the final trio chorus. The left hand resumes its regular beat—and how Jelly makes his old piano rock! Such final choruses are usually labeled "stomps" in his published solos, and that is certainly an apt though almost tame term for the manner in which Jelly bears down and rides on out.
The melodic invention of this finale is as notable as its immense rhythmic vitality. Although the melodic develop­ments of the stomp version follow closely the simple lines of the "organ chorus" Jelly's rhythmic impetus and melodic embellishment give the effect of fantastic and frenzied variation. Actually each bar is directly related to its coun­terpart in the first simple statement and all of Jelly's most characteristic and fanciful "figurations* are fused with the basic idea as though they belonged there originally.