Click to enlarge photograph

Jelly Roll Morton
in New Orleans, c. 1906

This is probably the earliest known photograph of Jelly Roll. He is shown outdoors, standing in front of a timber wall. Morton is dressed as though he was just going out to play at Hilma Burt’s, or one of the other Basin Street mansions, where his playing was in great demand.

The photograph (courtesy of Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis) was first published in The Record Changer magazine, dated July—August 1951, page 14. [31]

Compared to earlier publications, the print in Oh, Mister Jelly is severely cropped, and is a mirror image of the original photograph. This appears to be an error. A clue is the parting in Morton’s hair, which he always had on his left side. What looks like a button on the right side of Morton’s coat may be an imperfection in the photograph.

Shown in Mr. Jelly Lord (1980) by Laurie Wright, page 204, and in Oh, Mister Jelly (1999) edited by William Russell, page 30.

courtesy of Ate van Delden

2005 Ate van Delden Collection

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