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The Pearls

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Album Review

This astounding 23-track compilation deserves a place in everybody's jazz collection — it's that important, that listenable, and that essential. It takes the cream of Morton's sessions from his legendary 1926 Red Hot Peppers to his 1939 dates leading a small New Orleans band, with all the essential stops along the way, including a 1927 trio with the Dodds brothers in Chicago. This is hot jazz nearing the apex of sophistication, just before Duke Ellington took it even more uptown.


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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