The Music of Jelly Roll Morton- The Jim Cullum Happy Jazz Band

Here’s a recital of tunes associated with the pianist-bandleader Ferd ‘Jelly Roll’ Morton. The program opens with a number composed by a pianist other than Morton, the white Mel Stitzel, who died in 1953. A veteran of the famed New Orleans Rhythm Kings, German-born Stitzel worked a lot around Chicago with Louis Panico, Benny Goodman and Muggsy Spanier, among many others. His composition The Chant was performed by Spanier, Fletcher Henderson and Morton, on classic records. Morton is credited with composing Milenberg Joys, its ‘blowing' strain similar to that of Tiger Rag. Here as elsewhere, the essence of Jelly Roll Morton – the ragtime flavor, the
Spanish Tinge,’ the spirit of ensemble freedom – is missing, and in its place is this band’s marvelous internal discipline. Winin’ Boy Blues and Sweet Substitute are not, strictly speaking, blues numbers, but the feel of the blues is overwhelmingly strong in both. Again Vache is the standout soloist. His mastery of this clarinet idiom establishes him as his brother’s easy peer. Everybody has a turn in a rousing Black Bottom Stomp the first number recorded in 1926 by Jelly Roll’s Red Hot Peppers. Hess is especially good, manipulating his trombone skillfully through the stomp’s many strains. Shreveport Stomp was a clarinet feature for Omer Simeon, so it follows that here Vache get the principal spots. He easily adapts it into his own sound, playing the blues, with an approach subdued and gentle, letting the blues idiom sing its own song. The whole band is back for a joyous trip through the traditional Wolverine Blues, on which trombonist Hess cuts loose from all inhibition, more than equalling a good chorus by Cullum. All seven men belong to a tradition of preservation which has a life of its own. They don’t live in the past, but play this music as a current, living thing. Cullum, besides his skills on the cornet, must be congratulated for his efforts to keep the music he loves from disappearing. In his capable hands its future, as well as its past is safe. - Richard M. Sudhalter

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The Chant, Milenberg Joys, Winin’ Boy Blues, Sweet Substitute, Black Bottom Stomp, Shreveport Stomp, Jelly Roll Blues, Buddy Bolden’s Blues, Wolverine Blues

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: CD Only
Soloist/Artist The Jim Cullum Happy Jazz Band
Instruments All Instruments
Composer Jelly Roll Morton
Accompanist/ Conductor Various


Customer Reviews (1)

The Library CD ShelfReview by James A. Cox
Library Bookwatch: September 2015
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review

The Music of Jelly Roll Morton is an album featuring the ragtime and classic jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, and Grammy Lifetime Achievement award winner Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (1890-1941), known by the professional name "Jelly Roll Morton". Though Morton did not invent jazz (a claim he once made, which has been thoroughly decried by music historians) Morton was a jazz trailblazer, and the first to arrange jazz pieces. Morton proved that a genre known for improvisation could be notated while keeping its spirit intact. His contributions to a lively and developing field of music earned him induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Vivaciously performed by The Jim Cullum Happy Jazz Band, The Music of Jelly Roll Morton showcases the compositions of a performer of incredible talent and gumption. A "must-have" for jazz connoisseurs! The tracks are "The Chant", "Milenberg Joys", "Winin' Boy Blues", "Sweet Substitute", "Black Bottom Stomp", "Shreveport Stomp", "Jelly Roll Blues", "Buddy Bolden's Blues", and "Wolverine Blues". (Posted on 11/23/2015)

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