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HOME arrow Jelly Roll Morton

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JELLY ROLL MORTON (b. 1890 – d. 1941):

Jelly Roll Morton grew up in New Orleans and began learning piano at age ten, graduating two years

later to working in the whorehouses of Storyville as a piano player.  From 1904 to 1917, he roamed

the South as an itinerant pianist, working clubs in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

 

Maintaining New Orleans as his base, he traveled to St. Louis and Kansas City, eventually making

his way to the West Coast and then to Chicago.  In Chicago, he established himself as a talent to be

reckoned with and made several classic recordings for RCA Victor with some of the best New

Orleans sidemen available, including Kid Ory and Johnny St. Cyr.  He even made the repeated

boast that he invented jazz.

 

By the 1930s, Jelly Roll had fallen on hard times, so hard that he somehow lost the diamond from

his front tooth.  He played dives in Washington, D.C., eventually managing a jazz club where he played

occasionally.  In 1938, folklorist Alan Lomax documented his life in a series of interviews about early

jazz for the Library of Congress.  Morton blamed his encroaching ill health on a voodoo spell.  He died in 1941.

 

In 2008, Jelly Roll Morton was posthomously inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.

 

To learn and experience more, please visit Jelly Roll Morton's Inductees (Photo & Memorabalia) Gallery and his

Inductees Video Gallery under "GALLERIES" on this site. 

 

*Bio courtesy of Tom Aswell - author of "Louisiana Rocks - The True Genesis Of Rock And Roll".

 

            By the 1930s, Jelly Roll had fallen on hard times, so hard that he somehow lost the diamond from his front tooth.  He played dives in Washington, D.C., eventually managing a jazz club where he played occasionally.  In 1938, folklorist Alan Lomax documented his life in a

 
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