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Jelly Roll Morton - Vol. V

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Album Review

Jelly Roll Morton recorded frequently for Victor between 1926 and 1930. The five individual volumes issued by the British label JSP include many valuable alternate takes, at the price of omitting the pianist's final sessions from 1939. The fifth volume, like the earlier four, was re-mastered by the brilliant audio engineer John R.T. Davies, who used excellent original source materials and then improved upon their sound without filtering out the higher frequencies in the process. Morton proves himself in a trio setting with clarinetist Omer Simeon and drummer Tommy Benford that an added tuba or bass is hardly needed. His two piano solos, "Seattle Hunch" and the challenging rag "Freakish," are also highlights. "Burning the Iceberg" is full of excitement but comes off as under-rehearsed, no wonder it was originally rejected by Victor. There are also several selections with Morton fronting Luis Russell's orchestra, notable especially for the presence of the dynamic trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen. Although many of the selections on this volume are alternate or rejected takes, all of them will be of interest to fans of Jelly Roll Morton.


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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