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The Library of Congress Recordings: Jelly Roll Morton - The Pearls, Vol. 3

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Album Review

The third volume in a four-disc set covering pianist/composer Jelly Roll Morton's 1938 Library of Congress Recordings includes the elaborate work "The Murder Ballad." It covers seven of the disc's 18 selections, and the choppy feel illuminates the problems inherent in Rounder's decision to edit Morton's vocal sections. During the original dates, producer Alan Lomax kept the tape rolling as Morton talked about his life, times and exploits, but Rounder opted to eliminate virtually all the oral narrative. Sometimes it's not glaring, but on "The Murder Ballad," it prevents the listener from hearing the accurate flow and feel of Morton's music. Those with sensitive ears beware; there's some sexually graphic and offensive (though hilarious) material.


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...
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