Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941)
(2007 INDUCTEE) IN 1923 JELLY ROLL MORTON RECORDED IN RICHMOND FOR THE GENNETT LABEL WITH THE NEW ORLEANS RHYTHM KINGS AND ON SOLO PIANO, RECORDING MANY OF HIS CELEBRATED ORGINAL SONGS.
DONATED IN MEMORY OF ROSE GENNETT MARTIN, FOURTH PRESIDENT OF STARR PIANO, INC., BY HER DAUGHTER, ALICE MARTIN KARLEBACH
Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe, known as “Jelly Roll” Morton, of New Orleans was a pianist, composer-arranger, and bandleader. Today Morton’s fame originates in his status as the first important jazz composer and his influence on jazz piano. Morton first recorded for Gennett in 1923 both with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, a white jazz band, and on solo piano. The session with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings is among the earliest and most significant interracial recording sessions in the history of recorded sound. Morton continued to record for Gennett in 1924, producing nine released piano solos. His last session for the label in early 1926 generated one release featuring Morton with a small jazz ensemble. Morton’s importance to jazz is evident in his compositions and in his arranging practices, which anticipated the arrangements of jazz musician-composers such as Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. Morton’s Gennett recordings represent his first significant body of recordings and one of only three major series of recordings he ever produced.
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