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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Appendix Two                                                                            299
the ones I did have I played over and over, asking Morton about personnels. Morton had forgotten what records he had made. He didn't like probing into the personnel of the records very much. Some of them he wasn't very proud of. He considered them dead stuff. He had been paid for them, had spent the money, and the public had forgotten them. He seemed to feel that they dated him as a passe Chicago stomp man, when everything was swing and jive. He was willing to forget them, too. When I would try to pin him down on factual information, names, dates, and places, he could stand it a long time, trying his best to remember, but after a couple of hours, he would edge over by the window and look down in the street longingly. When he got this jump-out-the-window look in his eye,' I knew he had had enough. He was ready to go home. He was a musician and an entertainer. He had played the music and sung the songs. Let someone else write the history. , . ."
It was almost immediately afterwards that Jelly Roll spun out his saga for the Library of Congress microphone. What a British discographer took for a dislike of history actually seems to be something quite different. Jelly Roll's recording career had been as much of a tangle as that of any other prolific Negro musician. Twenty years of work by absolutely tireless jazz researchers have failed to clear up all the uncertainties.
The most thorough list of Morton records has been com­piled by Thomas Cusack, who normally teaches Early Tudor Drama in the Queens University, Belfast in Dublin. His disc-ography runs to twenty-two pages with a blinding number of footnotes and brackets. While it exhibits an uncanny knowledge of the smallest details of the Morton recording sessions, yet there are question marks about almost every recording date. Still his chronological list of the records adds up to a chapter in Mortons life—the frenetic period between 1923 and 1929 when Jelly was reaching for the big time. The titles he gave his compositions, behaving here with a composer's scom for program notes, give hints about his life and show, besides, the play of an ironic and fantastic