Return to New York  ·  ASCAP and publishing  ·  Performing and recording
 Medical problems  ·  Return to California  ·  Morton dies in Los Angeles 10th July 1941

Millie Gaddini sends the following article from Down Beat, dated January 1939, Vol. 6, No. 1, page 7, columns 1—5.

Down Beat

The Alligator’s Hole

During the last year considerable interest has been shown by collectors and swing fans in the past accomplishments of pianist-composer Jelly Roll Morton. He was one of the most prolific writers in the history of hot jazz, and his recordings number at least a hundred. Since I have received numerous requests for more information about them, I am this month listing all the Victor platters waxed by his orchestra — this excludes the solos and those by the Morton Trio. Verification of the Morton personnels is an arduous task, and would take many months to complete. To my knowledge, there exists no accurate information on these personnels, and all data published thus far must be taken with a grain of salt.

Victor records by Morton’s orchestra: Boogaboo—Kansas City Stomp(s) V-38010; Mournful Serenade—Georgia Swing V-38024; Deep Creek—Red Hot Pepper V-38055; Burnin’ the Iceberg—Tank Town Bump V-38075; New Orleans Bump—Pretty Lil V-38978; Sweet Aneta Mine—Courthouse Bump V-38093; Try Me Out—Down My Way V-38113; Harmony Blues—Little Lawrence V-38135; Fussy Mabel—Ponchantrain Blues (Ponchatrain)
[sic] V-38142 (V-38125).

Black Bottom Stomp—The Chant 20221; Sidewalk Blues—Dead Man Blues 20252; Smokehouse Blues—Steamboat Stomp 20296; Someday Sweetheart—(Original) Jelly Roll Blues 20405; Doctor Jazz 20415; Grandpa’s Spells—Cannon Ball (Blues) 20431; Hyena Stomp—Billy Goat Stomp 20772; Beale Street Blues—The Pearls 20948.

Jungle Blues 21345; Shreveport—Shoe Shiner’s Drag 21658; Blue Blood Blues 22681; Fickle Fay Creep—That’ll Never Do 23019; Crazy Chords—Gamblin’ (Gambling) Jack 23307; Oil Well—If Someone Would Only Love Me 23321; Low Gravy—Mint Julep 23321 (23334); Each Day—Strokin’ Away 23351; Jersey Joe—Sweet Peter 23402; Mississippi Mildred—Primrose (Stomp) 23424; Load of Coal 23429.

Victor records by the Morton Trio (piano, clarinet, drums): Turtle Twist—Smilin’ the Blues Away V-38108; My Little Dixie Home—Looks (That’s) Like It Ought to Be V-38601; Wolverine Blues—Mr. Jelly Lord 21064.

Born in New Orleans in 1885 as Ferdinand Joseph Morton, Jelly Roll began his study of the piano at an early age. He toured extensively through the South, and according to his own story, was in great demand as a piano soloist.


Note: (P.E.M.) Paul Eduard Miller was the editor of Down Beat. He also edited the Esquire jazz yearbooks during the 1940s.

Note: Some of the discography information shown above is inaccurate. Readers are advised to consult the Disc Recordings page.

Prof. Alan Wallace and Jean-Pierre Lion send the following article from Down Beat, dated February 1939, Vol. 6, No. 2, page 10, column 4.

Down Beat


Jelly-Roll Picks
All-Star Band!!

Washington, D.C.

To the Editor:

Here is my all-star band: Russell Smith, Red Allen and Muggsy Spanier, trumpets; Claude Jones, Jack Teagarden and George Brunies, trombones; Omar (Omer) Simeon, Happy Caldwell, Barney Bigard and Albert Nicholas, reed section; Jelly Roll Morton, piano; Johnny St Cyr, Guitar; George (Pops) Foster, bass, and Paul Barbarin, drums.


Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated March 1939, Vol. 6, No. 3, page 1, column 7.

Down Beat

Jelly Roll To
Try N.Y. Again
With New Band

By Sidney Martin

Washington, D.C. — As Charles Edward Smith once wrote in Down Beat, this city is the “dead-end of the schmaltz circuit.” Jelly Roll Morton has left for New York, where he plans to form a new band and crash the big time again, and Smith’s term is the truth.

If he is successful, Morton plans to use Tommy Ladnier on trumpet. Before leaving town, Jelly Roll wrote four songs, If You Knew, Sweet Substitute, Southern Town, and Why? with lyrics by Ed Werac of New Orleans.

Occasionally, Washington does get a respite from corn when a good band plays a theater. During the fall, though, the nearest we came to swing was the ad libbing of Mr. Martin Dies and his boys.

Club Situation Bad

The better night clubs in this town are stiff, expensive joints frequented by Uncle Sam’s employees who fear that someone will see them with their hair down. Bands in these clubs which bowed before Guy Lombardo’s alter a few years ago are now aping Goodman, with about as much fire as a Salvation Army lass walloping a tambourine. Once a night some of the bands will play a blues in B flat, but it sounds like an Hawaiian love song.

The negro joints are a bit better, but on week nights they are dead, and on Saturday and Sunday nights are overrun with queers, both types. The Music Box, where Jelly Roll used to play, has a 5-piece band good as any around town. Very good swing, however, can be heard in the private membership Negro clubs which round up jam talent from the bands playing the Howard Theater. It’s a hard job getting into those places.

Jam in Rough Joints

There are a few good roadhouses in suburban Maryland which happily aren’t bothered by curfew laws, although the music isn’t so hot with hill-billy bands being popular. Harry’s Blue Bird Barbecue, in nearby Virginia, has a good 6-piece jam group with an ace Negro tenor man. This spot usually has the best sessions. It’s an all-night rough and tumble joint, selling beer only because of state liquor laws.

Wilson Style Forsaken

In other words when swing is wanted in Washington, the radio or phonograph is the best catharsis as a rule. And you can hear the current stylistic trends about a year before they hit Washington. Off hand it seems that most pianists are veering away from the academic style of Teddy Wilson to the earthy boogie-woogie figures of Bob Zurke.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated March 1939, Vol. 6, No. 3, page 8, columns 1—4.

Down Beat


‘Cuban Natives, Not Jelly-Roll Morton
Or Handy, Started Jazz in 1712’

Malcolm-Smith Cites
History Books to
Show Swing’s Origin

By George Malcolm-Smith

A curious fact about This Thing Called Swing is that, despite a fast-mounting bibliography on the subject, none of its historians has made any serious attempt to trace its origin.

With a vague allusion to the Congo, they seem content to let the question rest. Now that’s hardly the right attitude, for the origin of any art or enterprise is always the most engrossing part of its history. Who started a thing, and when and where and how are all questions to keep an army of scholars constantly digging into dusty tomes throughout the world.

God knows this correspondent should be the last to assume a pedantic pose, but he has been nursing a notion regarding the origin of jazz for some time, and he’d like to express it, if only for the sake of argument.

Jazz Goes ’Way Back

Let’s follow the down beat with a foolproof premise, then improvise from that point. The premise is that jazz was introduced into the states through New Orleans. Nobody can dispute that, for it is a fact that the Delta was ringing with jazz music as far back as the ’eighties. The famed literateur, Lafcadio Hearn, as long ago as 1885, wrote of the existence in New Orleans of “a music of a rudimentary syncopated type known as jazz.” We know also that Stale Bread LaComb and his troupe of white boys were featured to in the joints of New Orleans’ Storeyville (Storyville) in the ’nineties, when they were billed as “That Razzy, Jazzy Spasm Band.” And we know, too, that such pioneers as Buddy Bolden, Freddie Keppard and Jelly Roll Morton were giving out hot licks before the turn of the century. We know still further that New Orleans cradled the very greatest of hot virtuosi, including, in addition to those mentioned, such men as Oliver, Armstrong, Mutt Carey, Bechet, Red Allen, Johnny Dodds, Mannone, Bauduc, Froeba, Bonano, Prima, Celestin, Piron, and the Original Dixieland Jazz Bands of both Tom Brown and Nick LaRocca.

Of only two things can we be absolutely certain regarding jazz music: It was introduced to this country through New Orleans, and it was introduced to New Orleans by the Negroes.

Swing in 1712

Now, according to all available history, the first blacks to arrive in the Louisiana settlement were brought there in 1712 by Antoine Crozat, a French banker who was a moving spirit in the notorious Mississippi Bubble. It is more than likely that most of these came from Cuba, where the African slave trade had existed since 1523, scarcely 30 years after Cuba’s discovery by Columbus. Here in Cuba, the Negroes’ instinctive sense of rhythm would naturally have combined with the musical talents of their Spanish captors, creating a new style of music. It is a matter of record that in the years of 1809 and 1810, more than 3,000 of these Cuban Negroes were brought into New Orleans. It is safe to assume that they brought with them this strange new Africo-Spanish music.

To clinch the argument with academic authority, Professor Charles Morrison Patterson, psychologist who apparently had studied the hot idiom, said in the late ’teens of this century, “This thing called jazz has existed in Cuba and Haiti for hundreds of years.”

Dolly Sisters Were Hep!

While much of the foregoing is admittedly mere conjecture, here is an historic fact: The first music to hit Broadway that anywhere near resembled jazz came directly from Cuba. And it came even before the Original Dixieland Jazz Band first blared into the canyons of Manhattan in 1916.

Here’s the story: In 1913, the famous Dolly Sisters — Jancai and Roszika, former “Follies” dancers who now are married into European nobility — made a professional tour of Cuba. There they were struck with the vivacious, teasing qualities of a certain type of music played by the Cuban Negroes. The intensely rhythmic melodies of this music spurred the Dolly
[]s to dance as they had never danced before. On their return to New York, where they were booked for Ziegfeld’s “Midnight Frolic” on the New Amsterdam Roof, they tried to describe the music to the great showman. Sensing a novelty for his forthcoming production, Ziegfeld called in composers and musicians of all nationalities, but not one could identify or reproduce the exotic rhythms and harmonies described by Jancai and Roszika. At length and as a last resort, Ziegfeld arranged with the Victor company to have a record made “on location” in Cuba. Thus, “The Midnight Frolic” in 1913 opened with the Dolly Sisters dancing to a gramophone platter, the machine being concealed behind a backdrop. On that platter, Broadway was served its first taste of jazz!

Conga Is Old Stuff

To bolster Cuba’s claim to being the birthplace of swing, consider the article recently published in DOWN BEAT under the byline of Jerry Shelton. Jerry gives a graphic description of a Conga jamboree, a Cuban dance revived last year after having been banned 14 years. The Conga, known in Cuba for countless generations, involves a sort of musical battle-royal which is almost certainly the precursor of the carving contests that used to be waged between rival bands in the streets of New Orleans.

In these columns recently appeared an amusing though caustic controversy on the question of who deserves the title of the Columbus of Jazz. The rival claimants, you remember, were Jelly Roll Morton and W. C. Handy. We think that an impartial judge, knowing the facts, would order both gentlemen out of court, for the truth is, both men, whether they know it or not, are indebted for any claim to distinction they may possess to the Island of Cuba. Jelly Roll’s music, learned in New Orleans, originated among the Negroes who generations ago brought it with them when they crossed the Gulf. W. C. Handy simply committed this music to paper. Indeed, Handy wrote St Louis Blues, his masterpiece, shortly after a tour of Cuba with a minstrel troupe, and you will observe that it has an unmistakably Spanish flavor. That strangely familiar rhythm you hear of African blues is, of all things, a Spanish tango!

Of course we may be mistaken.

Brian Goggin sends the following article from The Chicago Defender, dated Saturday, 17th June 1939, page 12, columns 1—2.

The Chicago Defender

Charlie Cook Is The
Man At Radio City

NEW YORK, June 16 — Even though few are aware of the fact guests to the World’s Fair who listen to the music supplied in Radio City and rave over the arrangements will be paying honor to Prof. Charlie Cook, famed musician and one of the greatest of Race orchestra leaders. Mr. Cook who once headed his own band has retired from that field now and is doing arrangements for Radio City.

Completely in the background, Mr. Cook never chooses to make his presence known, rather sitting back and arranging all tunes for the various shows that play the Music hall and other amusement places. Prof. Cook, of course, cannot arrange every song that is played by the numerous bands, but he is head man in that department and is called upon for advice whenever a score becomes tough.

Veteran In Job

Prof. Cook has been in his present position for a number of years; in fact almost since he broke up his great band. He came here from Chicago where he was featured for years in the late Paddy Harmon’s Dreamland dance hall, Chicago’s largest spot.

Note: See also Brian Goggin’s essay of Charles Lee Cooke accompanied by his WWI Draft Registration Card.

Brian Goggin sends the following article from Down Beat, dated July 1939, Vol. 6, No. 7, page 1, column 3.

Down Beat

Johnny Dodds
Is Near Death

Chicago — Bedfast after suffering a stroke, Johnny Dodds was reported last week by physicians to be in a critical condition at his home here.

Johnny, one of the early New Orleans clarinetists who got his start with King Oliver and Louis Armstrong more than two decades ago, long has suffered abnormally high blood pressure. He was working on the north side with a small combination including Tubby Hall on drums when he was stricken. A brother, Baby Dodds, is still playing drums with Lonnie Johnson and Julia Lee at the Three Deuces Club.

Johnny, famed for his own records as well as those he made with Armstrong, Oliver, Tiny Parham and others, may receive mail at his home at 4919 South Michigan, Chicago. He may never play again, doctors say.

Prof. Lawrence Gushee sends the following article from The Baltimore Afro-American, dated Saturday, 19th August 1939, page 11.

The Baltimore Afro American


New York

[sic] (Jelly Roll) Morton, famed “daddy of the blues” has written a new marching song for the Elks, in honor of the convention in New York next week, entitled “We Are Elks.” The song is dedicated to the fraternity, and is published by the Tempo Music Publishing Company.

Peter Hanley sends the following article from the weekly magazine Jazz Information, dated Tuesday, 3rd October 1939, Vol. 1, No. 4.

Jazz Information

Jelly Roll Morton Has Second Bluebird Recording Date
Four More New Orleans Sides Waxed by All Star Band

Jelly Roll Morton, whose first recording date in many years took place two weeks ago, returned to the Victor studios on Thursday, September 28, to make four more sides for the Bluebird label.

With almost the same group of old New Orleans musicians, Jelly Roll again recorded old-time numbers: Ballin’ The Jack, West End Blues, Climax Rag and Don’t You Leave Me Here. Like the first date, this was planned by Steve Smith of the Hot Record Society to recreate the jazz of old New Orleans days.

Sidney Bechet, whose soprano sax was so outstanding at the first session, was unable to play on the second. Claude Jones, on trombone, likewise had to be replaced by Fred Robinson. The full personnel at the date was Sidney de Paris, trumpet; Robinson, trombone; Albert Nicholas, clarinet; Happy Cauldwell (Caldwell), tenor sax; Jelly Roll, piano; Lawrence Lucie, guitar; and Zutty Singleton, drums. Jelly Roll sang on the first and last titles mentioned.

Two of the sides cut at the previous New Orleans session are to be released on Bluebird next week.

Brian Goggin sends the following details of the CBS network radio broadcast of “We, the People” featuring Jelly Roll Morton from The Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin, dated Tuesday, 31st October 1939, page 13, column 5.

The Capital Times


The richest poet in the world, the originator of jazz, and a modern Jonah, are included among the guests for We, the People, tonight over WBBM at 8 o’clock. The poet is Edgar Guest, and the originator of jazz is “Jelly Roll” Morton, composer of “Dark Town Strutters Ball.”

Note: See also [We, the People] on the Recordings and Discography page for details of the CBS network broadcast.

Russell Shor sends the following review from the rare Swing magazine, dated November 1939, Vol. 2, No. 6, page 23.


  Winin’ Boy Blues
  Oh Didn’t He Ramble (Bl. 10429)
  I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say
  High Society (Bl. 10434)

Here is something really different; an attempt to reconstruct the New Orleans music of ragtime days. Veteran Jelly-Roll is by no means the star soloist, his piano being obscured by the solos of Bechet on soprano, Sidney de Paris on trumpet, Claude Jones on trombone and Al Nicholas on clarinet. Incidentally, Jelly declares himself not too satisfied with the results of this session, alleging mistakes in the personnel chosen for him.

It’s not ragged jam stuff nor yet over-arranged formality, but the frequent and prominent backgrounds and interruptions to the solos lend body to the performances. Winin’ Boy starts with Happy Cauldwell’s (Caldwell’s) simple, slow tenor solo. Lawrence Lucie’s guitar comes through nicely in the background. Jelly-Roll sings in a rough but soft and sensitive style on this side and in the number dedicated to the fabulous trumpet player Buddy Bolden.

Didn’t He Ramble is the most unusual, with its impressions of a funeral party, the “ashes-to-ashes” preaching of Claude Jones and the sudden springing up of the tempo for an orderly sort of all-in passage played entirely on two chords. The ending goes back into the funeral parlor and carries such an authentic atmosphere you’ll be ashamed you’re not wearing black.

High Society is a march such as Sousa could never have dreamed of. Bechet’s fast and fluent chorus, followed by Nicholas in remarkably similar style, will send you. The march impressions don’t interrupt the continuity as so often happens in records of this number.

Drum-roll and chord in C for Steve Smith of the HRS, who got this session together.

Personnel: on label.

Note: The “Swing” magazine apparently sold in the U.K. as well, because the price was given as 15-cents U.S. and 1-shilling U.K. Staff included Barry Ulanov and Leonard Feather. In the reviews section the magazine editor strongly implies that the reviewer was Stanley Dance. The quarter note next to each title meant the record was “good” — only Duke Ellington’s records received half notes, meaning “very good”. [RS 1]

Prof. Lawrence Gushee and Prof. Alan Wallace send the following article from The New York Times Magazine, dated Sunday, 19th November 1939, pages 14—15 and 19.

The New York Times Magazine



. . . To get historical perspective on swing, its defenders say, forget West Fifty-second Street. Go back some forty-five years to the New Orleans of the carnival balls, parades, street dances, cabarets, saloons and assorted dives. Listen to a Negro-played music that knew neither sharps, flats, bar-lines or any such invention of pen and ink. Some of the men in the uniformed brass bands and fancy orchestras with fiddles could read real notes, but the men in the honky-tonk bands had no use for hieroglyphics. With microphonic ears and natural rhythmic sense, they played the tunes they heard in the way they felt.

One such band was that of Buddy (later “King”) Bolden. He generally had a half-dozen pieces — clarinet, old-style cornet, valve-trombone, guitar, string bass and drums — and his major engagements were in saloons and dance halls of the Negro neighborhoods. There, far from the dreary reality of his daytime barber-shop, Bolden blew from his cornet the rhythms and tunes that gradually shaped themselves into a consistent and natural and totally unself-conscious style.

This was the band that Willie G. (“Bunk”) Johnson joined before the turn of the century. He was still in knee pants, but the “King” knew a horn talent when he heard it. And Bunk, too, knew the greatness of Bolden’s playing, and listened and learned. Years later, he carried the Bolden influence to the famed Eagle Band which graced New Orleans’s most important carnival parades and funeral processions. It was probably on the street that a boy named Louis Armstrong, just out of the Waifs’ Home, first heard “King’s” horn. He never forgot the sound.

Another of the veterans is the pianist “Jelly-Roll” Morton, composer of the “King Porter Stomp” and now an honored resident of Harlem. Jelly-Roll developed his style in places which found a single instrument sufficient for their musical needs.

“One of the most famous places in those days was Hilma Bert’s (Burt’s),” Jelly-Roll was saying the other day. “All gilt and lights and fine furniture. A meal and drinks cost about $50, and a beer was a dollar. The house pianist got no salary, only a guarantee of about $5. But I was satisfied. Sometimes tips ‘for the professor’ came to $50 in one night, and once in a while a real sport would give you that much for one song. There was no dancing. The room was crowded with tables, and you had a real listening audience. That made you play your best.” (A large part of Jelly-Roll’s repertory has been recorded for posterity by the Library of Congress.)

When, during the war, the government banned these questionable resorts the first effect was to send many musicians up the Misssissippi River by the excursion-boats to the Northern cities — particularly Chicago. Those who remained shifted their activity to the yacht club, college campus and picnic ground, and perhaps adjusted their musical abandon to these new social planes.

“Those days,” says Armstrong, “New Orleans had maybe more than a hundred bands, all jiggin’
[playing one-night engagements]. They mostly had about seven pieces. No strings, except in one or two that could read notes. A man made $1.25 to $3 a night, and he could live high on that. I played all the dates I could handle, because I took a lot that Joe Oliver had to turn down. From 1917 to 1922 I played almost every night. I listened lots to Oliver like I used to listen to Bunk. They were my real teachers. They played nothing like each other. Oliver played * * * ”

Armstrong lifted an imaginary horn to his lips, worked unseen valves, and sang with eyes closed in ecstatic reminiscence. He plainly regarded such men as pioneers and himself as one who was privileged to carry on a tradition, established by them. He talked with the Negro’s ebullience of others he heard play. “I had good ears, and I listened hard and plenty. The schooling I had a man couldn’t have for a million dollars!”

By the time the Twenties rolled around, the up-river migration was on in earnest. The boat bands, too, were lured to big-city life, and the reports of big-city wages were irresistible. Back in 1908, Jelly-Roll had already sailed up the river, though he was “just experimenting.” Only a few years later, less in the spirit of inquiry than of conquest, the Original Creole Band came on to Chicago and made a hit. In time, others followed: a legion of old-time players sailing up the Mississippi with a music native to their soil and to their musical selves. . . .

Note: See also photograph of Hilma Burt’s Mirror Ballroom in Ate van Delden’s Iconography Library.

Note: See also Peter Hanley’s in-depth “portrait” of Hilma Burt on the “Portraits from Jelly Roll’s New Orleans” page.

 played by Butch Thompson

Roger Richard sends the following article from the weekly magazine Jazz Information, dated Friday, 5th January 1940, Vol. 1, No. 17.

Jazz Information

New York

NEW YORK, Jan. 5. — Among those present at a piano jam at the Golden Gate Ballroom last week were Teddy Wilson, Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, and old-timer Jelly Roll Morton, who played some of his own numbers.

Roger Richard and Dr. Horace Spear send the following article from the Music column of the TIME magazine, dated 11th March 1940, Vol. XXXV, No. 11, pages 65—66.



Barrel-house music is the sort of piano music you hear coming softly through the flaking shutters of the questionable little frame houses on the streets down by the railroad station in Charleston, Memphis, Birmingham, Mobile. Still preserved here & there in the squalid social amber of the deep South, it is a fusion of ragtime and blues that flowered in the 20th Century’s first decade. And it is important as a U.S. folk-music form because it almost died giving birth to jazz. It got its name from the place where it was (and occasionally still is) played.

Last week in Manhattan Charles Edward Smith, historian (Jazzmen) and friend of America’s native rhythms, produced through new General Records Co. an album of barrel-house tunes played by the greatest surviving barrel-houser — 54-year-old Ferdinand (“Jelly Roll”) Morton. The album’s title is Jelly Roll Morton’s New Orleans Memories, and both musically and otherwise Jelly has much of interest to remember.

His father got the wrong idea.

Son of a New Orleans Negro liquor dealer, Jelly started playing guitar and singing spirituals at funerals, then switched to the piano when he heard a male pianist at the French Opera House. Until then he had assumed that the piano was a woman’s instrument. He took some lessons at a Catholic school, but considers his real mentor an eight-fingered virtuoso named Mamie Desdume (Desdunes), “good-natured, a fine dresser, and extremely popular with the sporting crowd.” Mamie played the first blues Jelly ever heard, and she is gratefully recalled in the album by Mamie’s Blues.

When Jelly was 16 or thereabouts, his father, who had been under the impression that Jelly was working nights in a cooperage plant, learned that Jelly was in fact providing entertainment for various dives in the restricted Storyville part of town. There was no place else for Jelly to play his kind of music, so Jelly left home.

From then on Jelly rose steadily to fame in his chosen profession, performing at places like Aunt Lucy’s, Gypsy Schaeffer’s and the Frenchman’s. Waxing prosperous, he adorned his massive smile with a set of gold teeth, studded one of them with a diamond. In such lurid surroundings, Jelly and other locally celebrated colored musicians like King Oliver and Louis Armstrong were unconsciously shaping a folk music whose syncopated four-four time would later make the whole world dance and sing differently. In re-discovering and re-recording Jelly’s simple and persuasive music, Charles Smith has done for the jazz cult something pretty close to what Lord Elgin did for antiquarians. . . .

TIME, March 11, 1940

 played by Morten Gunnar Larsen

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated the Monday, 15th April 1940, Vol. 7, No. 8, page 10.

Down Beat

Immortals of Jazz

Jelly Roll Morton

Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton was born September 29, 1885, in New Orleans. After serving as an apprentice in an uncle’s barber shop he took up guitar, but junked that instrument after attending an operatic performance in New Orleans’ French Opera House one night. The music made him realize the potentialities of the piano, and by 1900 he was pecking out early rags, forerunner to the jazz of 1940. Mamie Desdume (Desdunes), a blues singer, was Morton’s first inspiration, and after hearing her perform, he began studying the blues intently. A great friend of Joe Oliver, Jelly Roll gigged around New Orleans many years, eventually moving north to Chicago and later, New York, where he recorded with dozens of different units which contained the greatest of jazzmen. Morton in the last 40 years has done much traveling, and still is unrecognized by the public, but his contributions to jazz (both compositions and performances) cannot be overstressed in the day of commercial “swing” music. Morton still jobs around New York today, and recently was featured on a series of sides on Bluebird and more recently on the new General Records’ label. In tribute to one of the brightest personalities jazz has ever known, Down Beat nominates Jelly Roll Morton for its “Immortal” honor.

Prof. James Dapogny sends the following, which notes a previously unknown engagement. A flyer/poster advertises, for Wednesday, 8th May 1940, an “American Music Festival” at Mecca Temple, in New York City. It lists “Allan (Alan) Lomax, Boogie woogie pianists, Elliot Paul and his Concertina, Jelly Roll Morton, Leadbelly, Joshua White, Elie Siegmeister and his American Ballad Singers, Alex North, Norma Duncan, Earl Robinson, Harold Rome, Teddy Wilson and his Swing Quartet, Morton Gould and Ensemble, Phil Sim Quartet, Paul Creston and Trio, Marc Blitzstein, Lehman Engel and his Madrigal Singers, and Phil Loeb” as appearing. This was to benefit Dorothy Parker’s Spanish Children’s Relief Fund. In his letters to Roy Carew, Morton does not mention this engagement, although at this time, he was often in touch with Alan Lomax. See detailed article below from The New York Times, dated Sunday, 5th May 1940.

Prof. Alan Wallace and Dan Vernhettes send the following article from The New York Times, dated Sunday, 5th May 1940, page 8X, column 5.

The New York Times


With John Barbirolli conducting and Rudolf Serkin as piano soloist, the Philharmonic - Symphony brings to a close its current season at Carnegie Hall this afternoon.

Major events of the week include the inauguration of a season of opera by the San Carlo Company at the Center Theatre, and an American Music Festival to be given at Mecca Temple Wednesday night for the benefit of the Spanish Children’s Relief Fund. . . .



American Music Festival, for the benefit of the Spanish Children’s Relief Fund, Mecca Temple, 8:15 P.M.

Folk Section: Golden Gate Quartet — Worksongs and spirituals. Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly) — Songs of the South. Jelly Roll Morton — Negro Folksongs. Woody — Oklahoma Folksongs.

American Ballad Singers, directed by Elie Siegmeister — American regional songs.

Boogie Woogie pianists and Elliot Paul — Barrel-house music.

Theatre Section: Songs of Alex North and Harold Rome, sung by Laura Duncan, the Albert Moss Chorus, Philip Loeb, and a group of dancers.

Marc Blitzstein — A section of his work, “No For an Answer.”

John La Touche and Juanita Hall Group — “Suzanna and the Elders.”

Concert Section: Paul Creston and Cecil Leeson — Sonata for saxophone and piano (Creston).

Elie Siegmeister and Emile Renan — Two songs for Garcia Lorca; Johnny Appleseed.

Morton Gould — “Carioca” Tunes; Improvisation. Earl Robinson — A section of his new work. “The People — Yes.”

Swing: Teddy Wilson and his quartet.

Prof. Lawrence Gushee sends the following article from The Chicago Defender, dated Saturday, 10th August 1940, page 20, columns 3—4.

The Chicago Defender


Jelly Roll Morton Won’t Ask For
Cash For Melrose Compary (Company)

NEW YORK — Ferdinand (Jellyroll) Morton’s suit against Melrose Music in which the plaintiff songwriter sought an accounting from Melrose on royalties due on 47 published songs in New York Supreme court, has been dropped. The plaintiff’s attorney stated in his petition for a dismissal, that after examining the defendant’s file to check on royalties he felt the suit should be discontinued.

The suit alleged Morton was hired on a six month term as a writer July 11, 1923, wtih (with) the defendant agreeing to pay him all royalties on mechanical reproduction but all royalties on sheet music were to go to Melrose. Later on in 1926, another agreement was signed, this time for a year’s duration in which Morton was to be paid 25 per cent on mechanical reproductions, one cent on sheet music and on solo instrumental reproductions, three cents on orchestrations, and 12½ per cent on mechanical reproductions of vocal compositions.

It was alleged that from 1939 on the defendant had failed to pay proper royalties, and the action was started for an accounting.

Note: Readers are also advised to consult the correspondence between Jelly Roll Morton and Roy Carew in Oh, Mister Jelly: A Jelly Roll Morton Scrapbook, in which Jelly Roll writes about his legal and other problems. [OJM 159-305]

Brian Goggin sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Thursday, 15th August 1940, Vol. 7, No. 16, page 6, column 2.

Down Beat

Stroke Kills
Johnny Dodds

Johnny Dodds

Johnny Dodds, 48, famed Negro clarinetist, was killed by a paralytic stroke in his home on Chicago’s south side at noon Thursday, August 8. Dodds was probably the oldest living jazz musician playing.

Born in New Orleans April 12, 1892, Johnny began playing the clarinet when he was a boy of 16. After building an enviable reputation as one of the finest musicians in New Orleans, Dodds came north in 1918 with his drummer brother, Baby, and together they gained fame as members of the old Louis Armstrong Hot Five and other famous old jazz groups. Johnny also played with the great King Oliver band.

Dodds is credited by many with having been the influence behind the influence of the great Frank Teschemacher, creator of the “Chicago style” clarinet.

He had been playing for the past year against strict doctor’s order, after a stroke felled him last fall, temporarily paralyzing his hand. Just a few days before his death Dodds had recorded for the forthcoming Decca New Orleans Album.

He is survived by his wife, Georgia; mother, Mrs. Maggie Allen; brother, Baby; and sons Johnny Jr., 19, and Randolph, 17.

Note: See also Brian Goggin’s essay of John Dodds accompanied by his WWI Draft Registration Card.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Thursday, 15th August 1940, Vol. 7, No. 16.

Down Beat


Melrose Was
Mistaken for
Jelly Morton


“The Kansas City Frank” who was always thought to be Jelly Roll Morton is Frank Melrose!

Verification of that was made last week in the Yes Yes Club on Chicago’s State Street where Frank, piano playing member of the famous Melrose publishing family, now taps the keys. Melrose acknowledged he is the “Kansas City Frank” of early record fame.

Collectors and even Delaunay have long credited Morton with Brunswick 7062 Jelly Roll Stomp and Pass the Jug (both Melrose’s own tunes) because Jelly’s name appears.

Melrose was working at the old Cellar Club in Chicago when the Cellar Boys waxed Wailing Blues and Barrel House Stomp. He played piano on the two now-famous with Wingie, Tesch, Freeman and Wettling, on Vocalion 1503.

There was another Wailing Blues date in Chicago with a different group which included, besides Frank Melrose, an all-Negro lineup with Jimmy Bertrand on drums. This came out on Paramount 12898 under the title “Kansas City Frank and his Footwarmers.” Wailing Blues (21469) and St. James Infirmary (21470). Same sides appeared on Broadway 1355 under the name of “Harry’s Reckless Five.”

Frank went to New York with a troupe to record around 1930 and made the following piano solos: Market Street Jive (9602); Piano Breakdown (9608); Whoopie Stomp (9609) and Distant Moan (9620), according to information found by George Avakian in the old Brunswick files and verified by Melrose himself.

Frank remembers recording Shanghai Honeymoon with Darnell Howard, clary, and Jimmy Bertrand, drums, for Brunswick. This and the already-mentioned piano sides have not turned up and may not have been released. Frank recalls record dates with Johnny and Baby Dodds. Two tunes owned by the Melrose people are Kentucky Blues (Frank Melrose) and Barrel House Stomp (Lester Melrose) as well as many others. Frank lately has been rehearsing with the fine Pete Dailey (Daily) band, which features a banjo, in Chicago — a real “old ragtime” group.

Note: Frank Melrose, the younger brother of Chicago music publishers Walter and Lester Melrose, was probably the first white pianist to come under the spell of Jelly Roll Morton.

 played by Jelly Roll Morton

Roger Richard sends the following article from the weekly magazine Jazz Information, dated Friday, 20th September 1940, Vol. 2, No. 5, page 17.

Jazz Information



According to Jelly Roll Morton, Buddy Petit was “one of the greatest hot cornets that ever lived, second only to Freddy Keppard. He had tremendous power, smoothness, a wealth of musical ideas, and was good in all registers. He was slow on reading, but if the time was played off first he would pick up his part so fast no one knew he couldn’t read.”

Buddy was also one of the first New Orleans musicians to play on the Pacific Coast, when Jelly Roll and Dink Johnson, former drummer of the Original Creole Band, decided to form a “Dixie type band” in 1917, and sent to New Orleans for Buddy, Frankie Dusen (Duson) and Wade Waley (Whaley). Dusen (Duson) was an old friend of Jelly’s, since the Eagle Band days of Dusen (Duson) and Buddy Bolden.

Jelly and Dink knew they would come in “the antiquated dress habitual to New Orleans musicians, with their instruments all taped up to keep them airtight and Waley’s (Whaley’s) clarinet in his back pocket.” For this reason, they wanted to bring them in secretly, and met them at the station (in Los Angeles) in Johnson’s big MacFarland (McFarlan). They asked Buddy where his cornet was, and he said it was in his suitcase. Part of Dusen’s (Duson’s) trombone was in his suitcase, the rest wrapped in newspaper.

“We spirited them away so no one could see them in their tight pants and box back coats, and brought them to a tailor. They wanted to kill us for wanting them to change their outmoded clothing for the then modern clothes,” Jelly says.

Forming a five-man jazz band, they played a dance hall every Tuesday night. Then they got a regular job, paying each man 75 dollars, at Baron Long’s night club in Watts; tips came in plenty and doubled the salary, but in New Orleans, salaries were so low that musicians couldn’t afford to spend much money on food. On most dates they would be fed, but “in spite of this some would bring their own food in a bucket, and this is what they did in this elaborate night club. They cooked up red beans and rice in a bucket.”

When Jelly Roll and Dink began to kid them about the home cooking, Dusen (Duson) and Petit blew up and threatened to kill them it they ever went back to New Orleans — a threat which neither Morton nor Johnson took seriously. But the next day the two die-hards left town, without notice, and went back to New Orleans.

As told to Herman Rosenberg

arr. by Prof. Charles van Herbruggen

Adam Ramet and Roger Richard send the following article from the Music column of the TIME magazine, dated 23rd September 1940, Vol. XXXVI, No. 13.


Chamber-Music Society

Chamber music is an art form whose devotees take it with sometimes painful seriousness. Ordinary folk almost feel that they should take off their shoes before they go in to listen. National Broadcasting Co. shares the general reverence, but last summer it began giving out “chamber music” that was different. Last week an NBC program, whose popularity had lifted it from a Sunday-afternoon to a Monday-evening spot (9 p.m. E.D.S.T.), started with a bland announcement:

“Greetings, Music Lovers — and that includes you, too, Toots. Once again you are tuned in on a concert by the no doubt world-renowned Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street — whose members have consecrated their lives to the preservation of the music of the Three Bs — Barrelhouse, Boogie-woogie and the Blues. Present with us on this solemn occasion: Mademoiselle Dinah Diva Shore, who starts fires by rubbing two notes together; Maestro Paul Laval and his ten termite-proof wood winds; Dr. Gino Hamilton, as our chairman and intermission commentator; and Dr. Henry Levine, with his Dixieland Little Symphony of eight men and no — Period. As the Society’s special guest: Professor Louis Kievman, the long-haired musician who plays a bald-headed viola. . . . But the concert is now in progress. . . .”

The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street—named after a famed street in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz — is devoted to two kinds of music, traditional “Dixieland” and modern hot. Trumpeter Henry Levine, who succeeded Nick La Rocca in the fabulous Original Dixieland Jazz Band of two decades ago, handles the New Orleans tunes, with his mostly brass octet. Paul Laval, an Italo-Frenchman (born Joseph Usifer), plays clarinet and saxophone — his occasional saxophone work with the NBC Symphony has earned Toscanini’s bravos — and leads the ten wood winds in his own hot arrangements. Guests have included Pianists “Jelly Roll” Morton, Alec Templeton and Joe Sullivan, Blues Composer W. C. Handy, Violinist Kurt Polnarioff of the Pittsburgh Symphony (with his hair down), Conductor Frank Black (with a hot harpsichord). Official singer is pretty, sultry-voiced Dinah Shore, 23, who was born Fanny Rose Shore in Winchester, Tenn., changed her name because of puns. When old Composer Handy heard Dinah Shore send out his Memphis Blues, he wept, said: “It was never really sung before.”

Jazz purists are no less vestal-vinegary than long-haired music lovers, and not much more numerous. (What the great public calls jazz is mere popular music.) The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street is irreverent in both directions. Announcer Gene Hamilton (“Dr. Gino”), who ordinarily handles such programs as the NBC Symphony and the Firestone hour, solemnly voices puns, non sequiturs (written by Scripter Welbourn Kelley), identifies a composition as “Opus 33, First Door to the Left,” or “a small-fry rhapsody with no particular point,” or “a slightly undernourished D Minor.” Vice presidents seem to fascinate the Society. Once Dr. Gino began: “And as we look at our program (printed on the back of an old vice president). . . .” The Society’s signature is Basin Street Blues, which at the close is played in the manner of Haydn’s Farewell Symphony, the musicians leaving one by one until only Professor Harry (“Grumpy”) Patent is left, slapping his doghouse. For all its clowning, the Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street is rated, by jazzmen, as among the best jazz programs on the air.

TIME, Sep. 23, 1940

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Tuesday, 1st October 1940, Vol. 7, No. 19, page 2, columns 4—5.

Down Beat

“Robbed of Three Million
Dollars,” Says Jelly Roll


New York — “I’ve been robbed of three million dollars all told,” Jelly Roll Morton indignantly declared last week. “Everyone today is playing my stuff and I don’t even get credit.”

Nattily dressed in a green sport shirt and gray pants with large green spots predominating, Jelly Roll, who rides around Harlem in a Cadillac, was savage in his attack on various publishers and musicians who, he claims, stole his original songs and ways of interpreting them.

Jelly Roll Morton


“Kansas City style, Chicago style, New Orleans style — hell they are all Jelly Roll style,” he snorted as he watched Hot Lips Page rehearse a new band above a Harlem pool hall. “I am a busy man now and I have to spend most of my time dealing with attorneys, but I am not too busy to get around and hear jazz that I myself introduced 25 years ago ago, before most of the kids was even born.”

Jelly Roll, who says he “invented” jazz music, recently brought suit against Melrose Music but the suit was dropped a few weeks later. That did not pacify him. His current gripe is that “all this jazz I hear today is my own stuff and if I had been paid rightfully for my work I would now have 3 million dollars more than I have now.”

Karl Ellison sends the following article from The Pittsburgh Courier, dated Saturday, 28th December 1940, page 19, column 4.

The Pittsburgh Courier


Jelly Roll Morton Recognized
Writer-Member of ASCAP.

NEW YORK, Dec. 26. —

Jellyroll Morton, whose various claims in the world of jazz have made him a lucrative source for newspaper copy throughout the country, has formed a new publishing company in Hollywood, Cal., with Benjamin Spike (Spikes).

The company’s catalogue, which is to be supplied by Negro composers, has signed with Broadcast Music Incorporated, which has taken up arms against American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

A recognized writer-member of A.S.C.A.P., Morton’s writing isn’t expected to be effected by this new move due to the technicality which keeps his music out of the jurisdiction of his own company, and him not having anything to do with the adding, doctoring or arranging of the music in the catalogue offered by B.M.I.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Wednesday, 1st January 1941, Vol. 8, No. 1, page 6, column 4.

Down Beat

Jelly Roll to
Help BMI Get
Negro Writers

Hollywood — Broadcast Music, Inc., has signed to take the entire output of a new publishing company formed here by Jelly Roll Morton, famous old-time blues pianist and singer, and Benjamin (“Reb”) Spikes, songwriter (“Someday Sweetheart”) and one-time bandleader. The old Spikes Brother’s band is well known to hot record collectors.

Harry Engel, Coast chief of operations for BMI, said Spikes would be the composer in the new firm and that Morton would watch for and select songs by othe Negro composers. Morton can function only as a publisher in the Spikes-Morton firm due to the fact he is bound to ASCAP as a composer-member, but not as a publisher.

Engel said, “We know there is a wealth of great talent among Negro song writers which has never been developed. This is BMI’s first step toward opening this field.”

Michael Hill sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Tuesday, 1st April 1941, Vol. 8, No. 7, page 13.

Down Beat

Seriously Ill, Jelly Roll
Fights an Unfriendly World


Los Angeles — Seriously ill in a little cottage just off Central Ave. lies an ageing Negro musician who probably did more than any other one man to perpetuate one of America’s most valuable native musical forms — the “blues,” from which stemmed such developments as “boogie woogie,” jazz, so-called “modern swing,” etc.

Faces Suspension

Yes, it’s the original, one and only Jelly Roll Morton, who learned the authentic Negro blues songs as a “can rusher” in the dives of old New Orleans, grew up pounding pianos in those dives, and in his time fabricated thousands of interesting variations on the plaintive folk themes of a race that has never stopped pouring its sadness and joy into song.

Jelly Roll has other worries, too. At the end of March he faced suspension from the AFM unless he paid off a $45 claim allowed against him in favor of two musicians he employed in a band working out of Local 802. Jelly Roll is very displeased with AFMoguls on that one. He claims that the musicians quit him, without the required notice, while the band was on the road. He says he owes them nothing and will pay them nothing. Jelly’s old friend, Paul Howard, now secretary of Local 767 here, is unhappy about the matter, too. Paul will be forced to carry out the AFM order.

Pump Letting Him Down

Morton came to Los Angeles several months ago. He planned to start a song publishing business with his old team-mate, “Reb” Spikes (with whom he wrote the hit song Some Day Sweetheart) as partner. But the plan just didn’t work out, and now Jelly’s old pump, after some 40 years or so of throbbing over honky tonk pianos, is beginning to act up ominously.

But Jelly Roll, 56 years old, sick and in financial trouble, is more angry than despairing. He’s angry at the AFM, angry at ASCAP, angry at BMI, angry at the old pump for letting him down when he had so much to do. He’s just angry enough to fight back like all hell — and maybe win.

Prof. Lawrence Gushee and Prof. Alan Wallace send the following article from the Los Angeles Times, dated Friday, 18th April 1941, part 2, page 12.

Los Angeles Times


R.K.O. Plans Second
Gloria Swanson Film

‘Robin Hood’ Serial Set
‘Dinner’ Role for Olivia
Naish in ‘Blues’ Opus
Carroll Sought for Pair
Bennett Subject Named

by Edwin Schallert

Gloria Swanson’s film career will probably proceed. While she has worked only a few days at R.K.O., that studio is negotiating for another picture. She is now in “Father Takes a Wife.” of course with Adolphe Menjou.

Possibly it needed a hiatus in Miss Swanson’s career for her beauty and talents to be re-recognized. She hasn’t matured materially since she last acted in the films. But she is doing a more mature role.

There’s some talk that the starring subject for Miss Swanson will be one of the features she previously made, although that isn’t usually a favored procedure.

Roy Rogers to Star in ‘Robin Hood’ Serial

There is evidently a lot to be said for serials nowadays, despite they seem never to be regular fare hereabouts at first-run and other prominent theaters.

Nevertheless, they’re constantly growing more imposing, and here’s one that sounds much off the beaten path — a chapter version of “Robin Hood.”

Republic has decided to make this with Roy Rogers as star, and instead of two reels each episode will be three. The cost of the undertaking is to be approximately $1,000,000.

Streamlined Impressions of News

Olivia De Havilland is now assured of the role of the secretary in “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” but nothing yet about the Alexander Woollcott role.

Strenuous efforts are being made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner’s to borrow Dorothy Comingore, since “Citizen Kane” was previewed, but R.K.O. is saying no to the notion.

J. Carrol Naish has been engaged by Paramount to appear in “Birth of the Blues.” He will portray the owner of a dive in New Orleans. Mary Martin, by the way, is to sing “Waiting at the Church,” while other old-time songs to be included are “Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie,” “After the Ball,” “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” and “St. James Infirmary.”

Jackie C. Gleason, formerly of New York’s Club 18, has signed for a comedy role in “Navy Blues” at Warner’s.

Movieland Jottings and Castings

R.K.O. is seeking a deal with John Carroll for two pictures annually, now that he’s done his stint in “Sunny,” but it takes an M.G.M. okay, and that won’t be given easily.

Jelly Roll Morton, known down Central Ave. way as the granddaddy of the blues, has been secured as technical adviser on old minstrel show dances in “The Band Played On.” This will be the next William Dieterle feature for R.K.O.

John Huston, who wrote the mystery story, “Knight of Malta,” will also direct the picture version.

Warner Bros. is dickering for Constance Bennett to enact the lead in “King Rubber,” which will be directed by Ben Stoloff. It’s a long time since she worked at that studio.

Gene Tierney has an eye infection, result of lights used in “Belle Starr,” and is in the Good Samaritan Hospital. David Butler will accompany Kay Kyser on his tour through Texas and Oklahoma and will work on a story which he will direct.

Pickup Shots Along Cinema Way

Johnny Mack Brown is quitting the western scene to do “Moonlight in Hawaii” for Universal, with the Merry Macs singing.

Assignments: Nat Pendleton, “Rhapsody in Stripes,” Jean Negulesco (director,) two-reeler “Minstrel Days,” Ben Markson (writer) to script “Background to Danger.”

Tom Keene has signed for a series of four or more westerns at Monogram, the first to be “Wanderers of the West.”

Ray Middleton, who has just wound up his assignment in “Lady From New Orleans,” plans to go into a play, “Drum Beat,” in the fall in New York for Alfred De Liagre Jr., producer.

Note: The Band Played On is identical with the movie Syncopation. William Dieterle produced and directed the 1942 movie, which is based on a story by Valentine Davies, The Band Played On. [LG 2]

Note: The cast of Syncopation, which runs for 88 minutes, includes Adolphe Menjou, Bonita Granville, Jackie Cooper, Connee Boswell, Rex Stewart and the Hall Johnson Choir. Also making an appearance, in a jam-session at the end of the movie, are Charlie Barnet, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Jack Jenny, Gene Krupa, Alvino Rey and Joe Venuti. [PH 1]

Note: I’ve followed-up the matter of The Band Played OnSyncopation and can now be confident about Jelly’s role. My principal source is the American Film Institute Catalog.

Valentine Davies’ story The Band Played On became Syncopation when the screenplay by Philip Yordan and Frank Cavett was written. It’s likely that The Band Played On was the pre-production title — hence the use of that name in the Los Angeles Times article of 18th April 1941.

Production was from 13th October to 5th December 1941, with some additional shooting on 11th December and 17th December 1941. The picture was released on 22nd May 1942. The jam session with Benny Goodman etc. was filmed at Fox Movietone studios (in New York) on 23rd February 1942. More information on the jam session sequence is given in D. Russell Connor’s Benny Goodman on the Record.

Since Jelly Roll died on 10th July 1941, we can be confident that he had no involvement in the production. I guess that, after Jelly Roll’s death, R.K.O. hired the Hall Johnson Choir to provide the African-American elements. [AC 1]

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Thursday, 1st May 1941, Vol. 8, No. 9, page 13, column 1.

Down Beat

Jelly Roll in Better Shape;
Grateful, but Refuses Aid

Los Angeles — Jelly Roll Morton wants to notify the many friends who offered assistance to him after reading the story in the April 1 Down Beat about his illness, AFM difficulties and other worries, that he appreciates their interest but that he is in no need of aid.

He said: “It’s swell to know I have friends like that. Just tell ’em I appreciate the offers but don’t need any help. I’m feeling better now and will be back in shape soon. I’ve had plenty of trouble, all right, but I’m not licked.”

Jelly stated that he had paid off the $45 claim filed against him with the AFM — but strictly under protest. “I was just too sick to fight it,” he said.

Morton arrived in Los Angeles several months ago planning to carry on his songwriting and publishing enterprises here.

Brian Goggin sends the following obituary notice for Jelly Roll Morton from The New York Times, dated Saturday, 12th July 1941, page 13, column 1.

The New York Times

Ferdinand Morton

    LOS ANGELES, July 11 (AP) — Ferdinand Morton, song composer, died yesterday. Mr. Morton, who came here from New York two months ago, was the author of “The Jelly Roll Blues,” “Mama Mita (Mama ‘Nita),” “The Wolverine Blues,” and other tunes.

    Mr. Morton, who was 54 years old, was the son of a New Orleans liquor dealer. He started as a boy playing guitar and piano and singing spirituals at funerals and later appeared at night clubs throughout the South as a jazz pianist. His fame spread quickly and he was generally recognized as one of the leading Negro exponents of jazz music.

Prof. Lawrence Gushee and Prof. Alan Wallace send the following obituary notice for Jelly Roll Morton from the Chicago Daily Tribune, dated Saturday, 12th July 1941, page 8, column 4.

Chicago Daily Tribune

Ferdinand Morton.
   Los Angeles, Cal., July 11 (AP). — Ferdinand Morton, 51 years old, song composer, died yesterday. He was the author of “The Jelly Roll Blues,” “Mama Mita (Mama ‘Nita),” “The Wolverine Blues,” and other tunes.

Brian Goggin sends the following obituary notice for Jelly Roll Morton from The Salt Lake Tribune, dated Saturday, 12th July 1941, page 5, column 5.

The Salt Lake Tribune

Song Writer Dies
   LOS ANGELES, July 11 (AP) — Ferndinand (sic) Morton, 51, song composer, died Thursday. Morton, who came here from New York City two months ago, was the author of “The Jelly Roll Blues,” “Mama Mita (Mama ‘Nita),” “The Wolverine Blues” and other tunes.

Brian Goggin sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Tuesday, 15th July 1941, Vol. 8, No. 14, page 20, column 5.

Down Beat

Jelly Roll
Morton in
Poor Health

Los Angeles — Jelly Roll Morton’s illness, which has caused much worry among his friends of late, took a turn for the worse recently.

Jelly was moved from his home to a private sanitarium in June but left it about a week ago and was again in his home at 1008 E. 32nd St., but little improved, if any. He is suffering from a heart ailment and asthma.

Close friends of the old-time Negro blues pianist said he is definitely in need of financial assistance. He is despondent about his condition and has been calling in friends to help him “put his affairs in order”. Recently he sent instructions to his home local of the AFM, New York’s 802, concerning distribution of his death benefit.

Note: The above article is from the Chicago edition of Down Beat and is obviously late news, since Jelly Roll died on 10th July 1941.

Brian Goggin sends the following article from The Chicago Defender, dated Saturday, 19th July 1941, page 13, column 1.

The Chicago Defender



COOTIE WILLIAMS here with Benny Goodman, was the center of attraction at Sykes’ Brass Rail, Wednesday night.

CHARLIE CHRISTIAN, guitarist with Benny Goodman, is now in Seaview hospital, New York. A local bass player, from Joe Hughes DeLuxe club, replaces Charlie temporarily.

BUCK AND BUBBLES open at the State and Lake theatre (today) Friday.

FROM CALIFORNIA comes the report that “Jelly Roll” Morton is dead. What a shock — what a loss — for the musical profession. Jelly Roll was quite a pianist — some composer — whose contribution to music rates him well near the top of the list. “Roll” always felt that his early arrival and successes earned him the title if “father” of Race ballroom and theatre music. The public accepted him as father of the oldtime piano-jazz. His style was unique — his compositions best sellers — and until this day draw raves from those who follow and appreciate jazz.

JELLY ROLL was never acclaimed as he might have been, particularly in his older years. His feud with W. C. Handy over recognition for honors the critics had already elected to split between the two hurt considerably. Plainly his attempt to include the title “father” of the blues along with the role the general public had given him left his field of admirers divided. Yes, his unwillingness to share with Handy the spotlight Broadway critics had delegated for the two proved a haunting shadow until his very end.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from The Baltimore Afro-American, dated Saturday, 19th July 1941, page 13.

The Baltimore Afro American

Had Feud
With Handy
Over Blues


Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton, composer-arranger and called the “dizzy dean of music” and one the most renowned jazz and blues pianists since 1902, died Thursday of a heart ailment.

It was in the notorious Storyville section of New Orleans that Jelly Roll first became known. Storyville, the red light area, was one of the most sumptuous and pretentious parts of New Orleans from the 1890’s through 1910.

It was here that jazz is generally credited with originating around 1895 and where such greats as Buddy Bolden, Bunk Johnson and others got their start.

Began as Entertainer

When Jelly Roll broke into the scene in 1902, jazz was already looked upon in New Orleans as a distinct kind of music. However, there was little room for the piano in the early bands, with the result that Morton and others began as solo entertainers for the “madames” and their “guests” in the Storyville “palaces.”

Jelly Roll soon won fame, not only for playing ragtime, the blues and jazz, but as a composer. One of his most famous numbers, a standard tune which all the bands play today, is “King Porter Stomp,” written in appreciation for another pianist of that day, King Porter
[sic]. Some of Jelly Roll’s other originals such as “Wolverine Blues” and “Milenburg Joys” are just as widely known.

After leaving New Orleans, Morton went throughout the country. In Los Angeles he sent back for the then rising young cornetist, King Oliver, and his band. After getting them started in California, Jelly Roll went East and in 1910 won added fame in Chicago as a pianist in State Street cabarets. Later he formed a band that specialized in the blues.

Made Variety of Records

He also made many records for various companies, many of which are valuable as collectors’ items. Some were piano solos and some were with full band. “Mr. Jelly Lord” and “Black Bottom Stomp” are two of his most famous.

Two years ago, he led and played with a group of star New Orleans musicians to produce a series of platters released in connection with a new book on jazz called “Jazzmen.” All of these tunes were standard blues and stomps played in New Orleans thirty and forty years ago.

A few years ago, after W. C. Handy appeared on Robert L. Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” radio program as guest star, Morton challenged Ripley to prove that Handy originated the blues. He pointed out that he has been playing the blues since 1902 and had been hearing them before that.

He said that it was not until 1911 that the “St. Louis Blues” was heard and declared that Handy did not write that, but took it from a guitarist he had playing with him. This brought down the ire of Handy and both had plenty to say in the public press.

First Clown Director

Jelly Roll also claimed to have originated jazz and asserted he was “the first clown director, with flashy dress, witty sayings, etc., the group known as master of ceremonies today.”

He claimed the first glee club as another contribution and said he had used the hot string bass for more than 35 years. Jelly Roll declares he was the first to record the washboard, bass fiddle and drums, which were then supposed to be impossible to record.

“I produced fly swatters to swing the drums. These are now called wire brushes and every drummer uses them,” he once said.

In recent years Jelly Roll was not in very good health. For a while he operated a club in Washington, D.C., but later gave it up. He came back to California several months ago.

Brian Goggin sends the following article from The Chicago Defender, dated Saturday, 26th July 1941, page 10, columns 1—3.

The Chicago Defender

Name Band Leaders Who ‘Forgot’
To Attend Jelly Roll’s Funeral


LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The last rites recited last Wednesday, over the remains of the late Ferdinand J. (Jelly Roll) Morton, famed piano stylist, composer and contributor to the world of music, disclosed an evident callousness that bordered on ignorance on the part of nationally famed band leaders and prominent folk in the theatrical world, through their failure to assist by attendance at the funeral services.

Even with Musicians Local 767 in charge of the funeral arrangements, a concesion (concession) granted by the widow, there yet remained an apathetic aura surrounding the obsequies, because of the few local musicians who put in an appearance during the rites that marked the demise of such a great and colorful figure in the realm of music and the theatre. The service for the dead read in St. Patrick’s Catholic church, with interment at Calvary cemetery, was short and pointed.

Present at the services were the officers of the musicians local, and such old time theatrical notables as Billy (Uncle) McClain, who drove 70 miles from a prizefight training camp, Harry Fiddler, both original members of the theatrical Big Four, and scores of others. Absent were the nationally famed orchestra leaders Duke Ellington, Jimmy Lunceford and Ella Fitzgerald, as were several leaders of local bands.

Inasmuch as the funeral services started during the 9:30 a.m. mass, there remained hardly any excuse for non appearance due to making a show or rehearsals. All of the above named bands work at night. Duke Ellington is current at the Mayan theatre, with Wednesday and Saturday (2 p.m.) matinees; Lunceford is at the Casa Manana, and Ella Fitzgerald is holding down at the Trianon ballroom.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Friday, 1st August 1941, Vol. 8, No. 15, page 1, columns 4—5.

Down Beat

“Jelly Roll” Morton Dies

Jelly Roll Morton

Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton 1885 – 1941

One of the most colorful jazz personalities of all time, “Jelly Roll” Morton was part of the New Orleans heritage of the music behind modern swing music. Born September 20, 1885, Morton’s first occupation was as an apprentice in an uncle’s barber shop. His first instrument was the guitar, but he junked it after attending an opera which brought the piano and its potentialities to his attention. Morton was nominated an “Immortal of Jazz” in the April 15, 1940 Down Beat.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Friday, 1st August 1941, Vol. 8, No. 15, page 1, columns 3—5 and page 4, columns 4—5.

Down Beat

“Jelly Roll” Rests His Case


“Man, I invented Jazz” said Jelly Roll Morton on “We, the People” back in 1939. Musicians and students of jazz chuckled as Jelly’s boast came over a nation-wide hook up, yet when they stopped and thought of the tunes credited to Morton and the multitude of well known jazz musicians who developed under Morton’s direction, they wondered but what the Dizzy Dean of music didn’t have a substantial stake on his claim.

During the early 1900’s Morton was “boss of the stomps” in the brothels on the Basin Street line of pleasure palaces down in New Orleans from whence jazz spread fanwise to the north. One of the first missionaries to go up the river to preach jazz with a piano was “Mr. Jelly Lord.” To Kansas City, Chicago, the west coast and finally to Manhattan went Morton and his stomps, joys and blues. Just last summer in Harlem Jelly asked “Lips” Page what kind of a band he was rehearsing. When Page answered “Kansas City Style” Jelly Roll shouted, “New Orleans Style! Chicago Style! Kansas City Style! It’s all Jelly Roll Style!”

As a composer Morton has credit for innumerable tunes some of which are evergreens still used in the books of every band interested in playing good jazz. Following is a partial list of Morton compositions:

Wolverine Blues, King Porter Stomp, Milenberg Joys, Mr. Jelly Lord, Seattle Hunch, London Blues, Dead Man Blues, Red Hot Pepper, Big Foot Ham, Jelly Roll Blues, The Pearls, Grandpa’s Spells, Shreveport Stomp, Black Bottom Stomp, Shoe Shiner’s Drag and Pretty Lil.

Others are: Steamboat Stomp, Boogaboo Blues, Tom Cat Blues, Kansas City Stomp, Georgia Swing, New Orleans Bump, Fickle Fay Creep, Mamamita, Blue Blood Blues, New Orleans Joys, Froggie Moore, Burnin’ The Iceberg and Jungle Blues.

There are many more originals in addition to the many arrangements Jelly made of classics, traditionals and popular tunes. Jelly stated if he had gotten what was due to him for his tunes he would be worth several millions. Just last year he had an imposing suit against a well known publishing company, but the suit was rejected for lack of evidence. Morton believed if he was his own lawyer he could “whip ’em to pieces.”

Down through the years Jelly had many ups and downs, very similar to gamblers; “coffee and cakes” this week, the Waldorf next week. He retired from music many times and got into various business enterprises to always wind up back at the keyboard. Back in ’37 Jelly had a half interest in a Washington nitery where the barrels were opened by Morton, bad actors bounced by Morton, show emseed by Morton, and the piano thumped by Morton.

During the summer of 1940 Jelly Roll guested on the famed “Lower Basin Street“ radio show. His spot was to play one of his own compositions on the piano. Jelly didn’t finish his rendition in the time allotted to him so in spite of the frantic waving of producers, announcers and the cast, he went ahead and finished it anyway, necessitating complete cancellation of Dinah Shore’s song of the week.

Comes July 1941 and the Grand Old Man of Jazz, Ferdinand Morton, has gone to join other contemporary pioneers. Jelly Roll Morton is back with Joe Oliver (cornet), Freddie Keppard (cornet), Buddy Bolden (cornet), Tony Jackson (piano), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), and all the other New Orleans jazzmen who have served their time.

Fortunately, during the last two years Jelly Roll recorded some fine historical as well as musical wax. The Jelly Roll Morton New Orleans Memories General Album consists of piano solos and rare Jelly vocalisms dating back thirty years to Jelly’s “sportin’ house” days. He depicts a rare bit of Americana in his interpretations of the blues, rags and ditties he used to do when he was known as “Whinin’
[sic] Boy” Morton. Jelly was also commissioned by the Victor Company to gather a group to record his own arrangements of several traditionals of early New Orleans music. The result proved to be the only preservation of such tunes as Oh. Didn’t He Ramble, I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say, and Whinin’ [sic] Boy Blues that we have.

Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton has left the above evidence along with a raft of records now become choicest collector’s items to prove his oft repeated claim that he is “Originator of Jazz.” Always thinking in terms of his lawyer complex, “Jelly” rests his case.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Friday, 1st August 1941, Vol. 8, No. 15, page 4, columns 1—4.

Down Beat

“Jelly Would Flash that
G-Note, Laugh in Your Face”


“Jelly Roll” Morton borrowed the “Jelly Roll” part of his name from the original “Jelly Roll” who was a hot piano player from Atlanta, Georgia. He traveled down to New Orleans, and because this original “Jelly Roll,” a typical stomp keyboard man, was so popular with the women of the district, Morton latched onto the nickname after the Atlanta cat pulled up stakes and left town, never to return. My informant on this bit of “Jelly Roll” lore is Richard M. Jones, old time New Orleans pianist who composed Trouble in Mind, Tin Roof Blues and some 38 other blues tunes. Jones lives in Chicago now.

Flashed a G-Note

I talked to Joe Garland (with the Louie Armstrong band) just a couple of days after Jelly died. Joe says “When I worked with him as a kid back in 1928, ‘Jelly Roll’ wore a big diamond stick pin and always carried a $1,000 bill around on him. If you accused Jelly of being broke, he would flash that G-note and laugh in your face.”

“Morton was a time man,” says Garland. “He was always on time and was a stickler for discipline. During the nine months I was with him I never saw him drink or smoke. He was an egotist, but he could deliver and back up most of his statements. Jelly was a really swell fellow against whose sincerity nobody could truthfully say one word. He had a heart of gold and would readily give you anything he had if he thought it would do you some good.”

According to Richard Jones, Jelly had 15 or 20 topcoats and overcoats (in his more affluent days, of course) but would often shoot crap and loose them all. He had a big diamond in his front tooth.

Jones Started Him Out

“The first time I ever saw Jelly,“ says Jones, “was at Hannah Rogers’ Cabaret at Gravier and Liberty streets in New Orleans. This was many years ago when I was just starting out. I was doing pretty well and when I realized Jelly’s ability I bought him a suit and got him a job at Tom Anderson’s, the biggest cabaret in New Orleans, where Tony Jackson had formerly played. There was no salary, but Jelly became so popular he made he made 15 and 20 dollars a night in tips.”

“I taught him to read music, too,” said Jones.

Then I talked with Lester Melrose, who with his brother, Walter, published so much of Jelly’s work.

“When we first met ‘Jelly Roll,’ said Lester, “he walked into our music store — it was in 1928 — wearing a cowboy hat and a big bandanna round his neck. He announced: “I am Jelly Roll Morton.” He talked constantly for two hours and we didn’t get a word in edgewise. All of the monologue concerned how good he was and damned if he didn’t prove it, as he helped a great deal in pulling us out of the red.”

Complete Melrose Folio

The Melrose boys put out a complete folio for piano of “Jelly Roll Morton’s Blues and Stomps.”

One evening last January, Allen (Alan) Lomax, custodian of folk lore at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., told me:

“Spencer, I recorded Jelly Roll Morton last week for purely folk musical purposes for the Library of Congress archives and it was the darndest thing you ever heard. One hour and a half of continuous monologue and musical flashes. He would shout “I am the great Jelly Roll Morton” (then he’d play a bit of piano music); then he would shout again “I am the great Jelly Roll” (and intersperse a little more music); then he would holler “I invented jazz, yes I did. I did that,” and that record is really something to hear.”

The world has truly lost a character and a great personality in Ferdinand Morton.

Prof. Alan Wallace sends the following article from Down Beat, dated Friday, 1st August 1941, Vol. 8, No. 15, page 13, column 1.

Down Beat

Bury Jelly
Roll Morton
On Coast

Los Angeles — A solemn, high requiem mass, performed at St. Patrick’s Church with the full dignity of the Roman Catholic ritual, followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery was the world’s parting gesture to Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, who died here at Los Angeles County hospital July 10 of heart trouble and asthma.

One white man was among the approximately 150 people who attended the church service and accompanied the funeral procession to the cemetery — Dave Stuart of the Jazz Man Record Shop.

The Conspicuously Absent

Notably absent from the funeral of the man who did much to bring jazz out of the honky tonks and dives of New Orleans were two of the most successful Negro bandleaders of the day, Duke Ellington and Jimmie Lunceford. Ellington is appearing at the Mayan Theatre here in a stage revue and Lunceford is at the Casa Manana.

Among those present were the members of what was probably the first Negro jazz band to make phonograph recordings — Kid Ory’s band of the Sunshine record period of 1921. There they were — all of them — pioneers of jazz music saying goodbye to one of their valiant little gang — musicians who played from the heart because they never learned any other way to play. Kid Ory, trombone; Papa Mutt Carey, cornet; Dink Johnson (Jelly’s brother-in-law), clarinet; Ed Garland, bass; Fred Washington, piano, and Ben Borders, drums.

Four Are Pall Bearers

Four of that famous old band were among Jelly’s pall bearers: Ory, Papa Mutt, Washington and Garland. The other pall bearers were Paul Howard, secretary of Local 767; Spencer Johnson and Frank Withers, all old friends of Jelly who had worked with him in bygone years.

There were flowers aplenty, ranging from simple little sprays to a big, music-lyre design sent by the membership of Local 767.

Observers noted that Mrs. Morton, who was accompanied by Jelly’s sisters,
+ seemed to take it pretty hard, especially at the cemetery.

Reb Spikes, Jelly’s old song-writing partner, didn’t have a car and almost didn’t get to the cemetery. Dave Stuart saw that Reb was about to get left behind and took him out in his car. “Sure appreciated that,” said Reb. “Wanted to go as far as I could with Jelly.”

Somebody mentioned it would have been a nice thing to have a street band there to march back from the cemetery swinging hell out of Jelly’s old songs the way they used to do in New Orleans. The “boys” in Ory’s old band decided that was a swell idea and that they would do it next time.

+ The sisters referred to above were not Jelly Roll Morton’s half-sisters, Mrs. Amède Colas and Mrs. Frances (Mimi) Oliver, but were Mrs. Mary Johnson and Mrs. Stella Johnson (Anita’s sisters-in-law). [DMB 194]

Note: An abridged version of the article also appears in Mister Jelly Roll by Alan Lomax. [MJR 258 - 259]

Roger Richard sends the following obituary notice from the Metronome magazine, dated August 1941, page 10, column 4.

Metronome Magazine

Jelly Roll Morton, New York, c. 1935

JELLY ROLL MORTON, famous blues pianist, composer of such famous standards as “King Porter Stomp,” “Shoe Shiner’s Drag,” and “Jelly Roll Blues,” passed away at the age of 51 in the Los Angeles General Hospital, July 10. He had been ill for some time, and, excepting for a record date for General Records, had been nationally inactive in recent years.


It is suggested that Alan Lomax’s book Mister Jelly Roll, Laurie Wright’s Mr. Jelly Lord, the Storyville magazines (particularly issue numbers 95, 98 and 127) together with the Library of Congress Recordings containing Jelly Roll’s narrative are consulted.

Ground-breaking research work conducted by Prof. Lawrence Gushee has received well-deserved praise from a wide circle of jazz enthusiasts and has been described by Laurie Wright as a model for future researchers. [F]

Numerous items of newly-discovered information on Jelly Roll Morton have appeared in issues of Storyville magazine publications and in the follow-up volumes.


by Laurie Wright

a full-scale 256-page book devoted to
Jelly Roll Morton’s recordings and his movements

    available from :-

     66 Fairview Drive
Essex  IG7 6HS

 UK      £21.00 incl. post and packing
 US      $38.00 incl. post and packing

(US personal cheques accepted)

Please make cheques payable to Laurie Wright



Mister Jelly Roll — The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and “Inventor of Jazz” by Alan Lomax, with Afterword by Lawrence Gushee, University of California Press, 2001, (Soft Cover), 367 pp.


Mr. Jelly Lord — Laurie Wright, Storyville Publications, Chigwell, Essex, (Hardcover), 1980, 256 pp.


Prof. Lawrence Gushee — A Preliminary Chronology of the Early Career of Ferd “Jelly Roll” Morton, Storyville Magazine, Issue 127, 1st October 1986.


Library of Congress Recordings — Circle 78 r.p.m. Recordings, jm-1 — jm-90.


Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Would You Believe Ferman Mouton? Storyville Magazine, Issue 95, June - July 1981.


Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Would You Believe Ferman Mouton? (A Second Look), Storyville Magazine, Issue 98, December 1981 - January 1982.


Oh, Mister Jelly — A Jelly Roll Morton Scrapbook, compiled by William Russell, Jazz Media ApS, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1999, 720 pp.


Rudi Blesh — Shining Trumpets: A History of Jazz, Cassell & Company Limited, London, 1949, 366 pp.


Storyville Magazine — Issue 156, December 1993.


Storyville Magazine — Issue 135, September 1988.


Storyville Magazine — Issue 151, September 1992.


Storyville Magazine — Issue 100, April—May 1982.


Storyville Magazine — Issue 102, August—September 1982.


Thirty Years of Lynching in the U.S., 1889-1918 — NAACP, New York, 1919. Reprinted, Arno Press, 1969.


Father of the Blues — An Autobiography, by W.C. Handy, Sidgewick and Jackson, London, 1957.


Dead Man Blues : Jelly Roll Morton Way Out West — Phil Pastras, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, (Hardcover), 2003, 246 pp.


Born With The Blues — Perry Bradford, Oak Publications, New York, 1965, 176 pp.


Pioneers of Jazz — The Story of the Creole Band by Lawrence Gushee, Oxford University Press, Inc., 198 Madison Avenue, New York, 10016, 2005, (Hardcover), 400 pp.


Some Hustling This! — Taking Jazz to the World, 1914-1929 by Mark Miller, The Mercury Press, PO Box 672, Station P, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2Y4, 2005, (Soft Cover), 288 pp.


Such Melodious Racket — The Lost History of Jazz in Canada, 1914-1949 by Mark Miller, The Mercury Press, PO Box 672, Station P, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2Y4, 1999, (Soft Cover), 288 pp.


Jackson Street After Hours — The Roots of Jazz in Seattle by Paul de Barros, Sasquatch Books, 1008 Western Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104, 1993, (Soft Cover), 238 pp.


A Trumpet Around the Corner — The Story of New Orleans Jazz by Samuel Charters, University Press of Mississippi, (Hardcover), 2008, 380 pp.


Bricktop — by Bricktop, with James Haskins, Welcome Rain Publishers, 225 West 35th Street, Suite 1100, New York, NY 10001, 2000, (Soft Cover), 300 pp.


New Orleans Style — by Bill Russell, compiled and edited by Barry Martyn & Mike Hazeldine, Jazzology Press, New Orleans, 1994, (Soft Cover), 224 pp.


They All Played Ragtime — Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, (Hardcover), 1950, 338 pp.


King of Ragtime — Scott Joplin and His Era, by Edward A. Berlin, Oxford University Press, Inc., 198 Madison Avenue, New York, 10016, (Hardcover), 1994, 334 pp.


The Music Trades — Article dated 21st June 1924, page 29. Courtesy of Mike Montgomery.


The Record Changer — Roy J. Carew: New Orleans Recollections., Ed. Bill Grauer Jr. and Orrin Keepnews, New York City 27, New York, February 1943.


The Record Changer — Roy Carew: Let Jelly Roll Speak for Himself, pages 7-9 and 14. Ed. Bill Grauer Jr. and Orrin Keepnews, New York City 27, New York, Volume 11, No. 11, December 1952, 44 pp.


Rags and Ragtime: A Musical History — David Jasen and Trebor Tichenor, The Seabury Press, New York, 1978. Page references are to the Dover paperback edition, 1999, 310 pp.


Alistair Cooke: The Biography — Nick Clark, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1999, 548 pp.


Herbert Asbury — The French Quarter, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1936, Giant Cardinal paperback edition 1949, 343 pp.


Jazzmen — Frederic Ramsey Jr. and Charles Edward Smith. Jazzmen: The Story of Hot Jazz Told in the Lives of the Men Who Created It, Harcourt Brace and Company, New York, (Hardcover), 1939, 360 pp.


Bunk Johnson: Song of the Wanderer — Mike Hazeldine and Barry Martyn, Jazzology Press, New Orleans, 2000, 276 pp.


Bunk Johnson: His Life and Times — Christopher Hillman, Universe Books, New York, 1988, 128 pp.


Pops Foster — Pops Foster: the autobiography of a New Orleans jazzman, as told to Tom Stoddard, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1971, 208 pp.


Sam Charters — Jazz New Orleans 1885-1963: An Index to the Negro Musicians of New Orleans, Oak Publications, New York, 173 pp.


Swing Out — Great Negro Dance Bands, by Gene Fernett, Da Capo, New York, 1970, 1993 edition with New Introduction by Dan Morgenstern.


Who’s Who of Jazz — by John Chilton, Macmillan, London, 1989, 375 pp.


Louis Armstrong — Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans, Peter Davies Ltd., London, 1955, 216 pp.


Storyville, New Orleans — Being an Authentic Illustrated Account of the Notorious Redlight District, by Al Rose, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1974, (1979 edition), 225 pp.


I Remember Jazz — by Al Rose, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, 1987, 257 pp.


Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya — Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff, editors, Peter Davies, London, 1955, 383 pp.


Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns — Jazz: A History of America’s Music, Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York, 2000, 489 pp.


Teddy Wilson Talks Jazz — by Teddy Wilson, with Arie Ligthart and Humphrey van Loo, Foreword by Benny Goodman, Cassell, London and New York, 1996, 179 pp.


New York Social Security Death Index — Sidney Deparis (sic), SSN 061-16-6816. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


The New York Times — “De Paris Band Moves Downtown” by John S. Wilson, The New York Times, 17th September 1962, page 37, columns 1-3. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.


The New York Times — “Sidney de Paris, 62, Trumpeter, is Dead”, The New York Times, 15th September 1967, page 47. Courtesy of Brian Goggin.

AC 1

Anton Crouch — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 7th November 2004.

DB 1

Don Boyer — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 6th December 2004.


Prof. James Dapogny — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 23rd August 2001.


Bill Egan — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 9th July 2009.

BE 1

Bill Egan — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 27th September 2009.


Brian Goggin — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 13th March 2009.

BG 1

Brian Goggin — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 2nd April 2009.

BG 2

Brian Goggin — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 3rd May 2009.

BG 3

Brian Goggin — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 11th June 2009.

BG 4

Brian Goggin — Letter and information, together with photographs, to Mike Meddings, 2nd July 2009.

BG 5

Brian Goggin — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 19th July 2009.


Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 8th November 2002.

LG 1

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 20th March 2003.

LG 2

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 17th October 2004.

LG 3

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 2nd November 2004.

LG 4

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 25th October 2004.

LG 5

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 25th October 2004.

LG 6

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 28th December 2004.

LG 8

Prof. Lawrence Gushee — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 30th November 2005.

CH 1

Carl A. Hällström — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 12th April 2008.


Peter Hanley — Letters and information to Mike Meddings, 5th and 20th February 2003.

PH 1

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 30th October 2004.

PH 2

Peter Hanley — Letter and caption text to Mike Meddings, 29th May 2005.

PH 3

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 5th December 2005.

PH 4

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 7th January 2006.


James Johnstone — Information from Chair of the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives Society.

JK 1

John Kovach — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 22nd December 2004.

JK 2

John Kovach — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 7th January 2005.

MM 1

Mark Miller — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 30th September 2009.

RS 1

Russell Shor — Letters to Mike Meddings, 24th and 26th November 2008.


Paige van Vorst — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 15th November 2005.


Prof. Alan Wallace — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 31st January 2003.


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