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Photographs of Jelly Roll Morton’s grave marker

Calvary Cemetery & Mausoleum, 4201 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, California

Jelly Roll Morton’s grave is number 4 in Lot 347 of Section N, in the north west quadrant of Calvary Catholic Cemetery. The grave marker lies at the foot of the tree in the photograph on the right. Morton was buried here on Wednesday, 23rd July 1941, and the pallbearers included Kid Ory, Mutt Carey and Ed Garland.

After nine years of being unmarked and neglected, The Southern California Hot Jazz Society, represented by its president Floyd Levin and vice-president Bob Kirstein, planned a benefit concert for 30th September 1950 in order to purchase a marker for the overgrown grave. However, Anita (Gonzales) Ford intervened before the concert and steadfastly refused to allow them to do so. In the days around the time of the concert, Anita arranged for the black marble plaque she had purchased in the meantime, which is visible in the close–up photograph on the left, to be put in place to mark the grave.

The SCHJS funds remained unused until 1966, when Floyd Levin and Bob Kirstein quietly purchased a tombstone with the money for the recently deceased Johnny St. Cyr, who had also served as president of the society.  [BG 4]

courtesy of Brian Goggin

2009 Monrovia Sound Studio

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