Jelly Roll Morton Died
July 10, 1941
you a jazz fan? You might be if you heard a recording by Jelly Roll
Morton. He died on July 10, 1941, but his music still makes you
want to get up and dance. If you've listened to ragtime or watched
old black-and-white cartoons, you have an idea of the kind of music
Jelly Roll Morton wrote and played.
In the 1920s, Jelly Roll Morton rose to fame with his band, the
Red Hot Peppers. Morton was a great pianist and generally
acknowledged as one of the first orchestral jazz composers. He
even claimed to have invented jazz. That boast brought him a lot
of enemies in the music world. Whether or not you agree with his
claim, Morton made some serious changes to the way jazz was
played. Can you think what those changes might be?
Jazz wouldn't be jazz without musicians creating variations of
the music along the way. What Jelly Roll Morton added to those
free-flowing improvisations were careful rehearsal and
Born Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe, in October 20, 1890 in New
Orleans, Louisiana, he billed himself as "Jelly Roll" Morton
when he played in vaudeville (variety) shows. In 1917, he moved
to California and played in nightclubs.
Jelly Roll Morton is best remembered for such pieces as "Black
Bottom Stomp," "Shoe Shiner's Drag," and "Dead Man Blues." Maybe
someone you know has some jazz recordings from the 1920s. If so,
you can turn the music on and get up and dance.