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The Essential Collection

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Album Review

The early works of Jelly Roll Morton have been reissued ad infinitum, most prominently by the Smithsonian Institution and Rounder Records, respectively. This double CD contains a large chunk of the group recordings from Morton as a leader, including many of the tunes that made him the godfather of early vintage jazz. Principal among the some 50 tracks are those with his Red Hot Peppers, along with a smattering from his legitimate Orchestra, his Seven, his Levee Serenaders, his New Orleans Jazzmen, and the St. Louis Levee Band. The sound quality is very good except for the first two tracks, the thinly produced "London Blues" and "Soap Suds." Otherwise, this enjoyable compilation pretty much lives up to the title of "Essential" for this part of Morton's career. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: 20 October 1890 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s

One of the very first giants of jazz, Jelly Roll Morton did himself a lot of harm posthumously by exaggerating his worth, claiming to have invented jazz in 1902. Morton's accomplishments as an early innovator are so vast that he did not really need to stretch the truth. Morton was jazz's first great composer, writing such songs as "King Porter Stomp," "Grandpa's Spells," "Wolverine Blues," "The Pearls," "Mr. Jelly Roll," "Shreveport Stomp," "Milenburg Joys," "Black Bottom Stomp," "The Chant," "Original...
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