Jelly Roll Morton

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Morton, Jelly Roll

Morton, Jelly Roll, 1890–1941, American jazz 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.


See biography by A. Lomax (1950).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As Anthony cummings notes in his preface, the Morgan volume constitutes a major addition to a very small body of such publications: James Dapogny's edition of the complete piano works of Jelly Roll Morton (Jelly Roll Morton, The Collected Piano Music, ed.
But it's nice to think that some cold and lonesome evening a 73-year-old Weldon Kees might step out of the fog and walk into a North Beach bar and play a little Jelly Roll Morton on the piano.
From Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, to Muggy Spanier and Benny Goodman, we are provided with a virtual and visual tour-de-force that includes the world-famous theatres and clubs that made Chicago's South Side a Mecca for jazz enthusiasts, as well as the cultural influence jazz came to have on the city's North and West sides as well.
"When my grandmother found out that I was playing jazz music," said jazz composer Jelly Roll Morton, "she told me that I had disgraced the family and forbade me to live in the house" (2).
Boys and girls, cats and squares, this is jazz!" Hot Jazz Special is a lively introduction to the music and to artists like Jelly Roll Morton, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington.
In "The African Heritage of African American Art and Performance," Babatunde Lawal argues that "visual and performing arts have been an integral part of African cultures since the dawn of human consciousness." He then traces the dawn's radiance from Yoruba ijuba (homage) to African American juba (homage), uniting Gelede to 'Lection Parades, Jelly Roll Morton to Fela, and FESTAC to AfriCobra.
The Life, Music, and Redemption of Jelly Roll Morton
In a five-CD collection (with an accompanying 120-page booklet) of 95 tunes, Williams traces the shifting sound of jazz from Scott Joplin's rag-time and Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong's New Orleans blues on through the big bands of Fletch Henderson, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, and the indescribable Duke Ellington.
His devotion to Louie in later years was almost exclusive, but at one time he had broader tastes in jazz that included Jelly Roll Morton, Bessie Smith, Count Basie, Bix, and many others.
This enables Shipton to treat Paul Whiteman with the same seriousness--if quite not the same admiration--as Jelly Roll Morton, while also paying more serious attention to international jazz trends and patterns of influence than is apparent in most comparable works.