Jelly Roll Morton

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Related to Joseph Ferdinand Morton: Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe

Morton, Jelly Roll,

1890–1941, American jazzjazz,
the most significant form of musical expression of African-American culture and arguably the most outstanding contribution the United States has made to the art of music. Origins of Jazz

Jazz developed in the latter part of the 19th cent.
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 musician, composer, and band leader, originally named Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe, b. Gulfport, La. He began studying piano as a child and in his youth was a pianist in the colorful Storyville district of New Orleans. Later he played with Johnny Dodds, Baby Dodds, Kid Ory, Barney Bigard, and other noted jazz musicians, and in the late 1920s made a series of highly praised recordings at the head of the Red Hot Peppers band. His popularity severely declined in the 1930s. Although Morton is regarded by many as the greatest New Orleans pianist and the first great jazz composer, his egocentricity, moodiness, and quarrelsome disposition led many musicians and critics to disparage him. His compositions and arrangements, many of which reflect his Creole background, include "Dead Man Blues," "Jelly Roll Blues," "King Porter Stomp," "Black Bottom Stomp," "Mama Nita," "Mamie's Blues" (or "219 Blues"), "Moi pas l'aimez ça," "The Pearls," "Sidewalk Blues," and "Wolverine Blues". The publication of his collected scores in 1982 helped to spark a Morton revival in the United States.

Bibliography

See biography by A. Lomax (1950).