Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe “Jelly Roll Morton”, Talented Pianist, Composer, and Key Figure in the Birth of Jazz

1 Posted by - September 12, 2018 - Black First, BLACK MEN, LATEST POSTS, MUSIC

() was an African-American ragtime and early jazz pianist and composer. Jelly Roll Morton first started his career in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the most notable jazz first arranger. He is best known for his composition “Jelly Roll Blues” in 1915. He was also known for being arrogant and had no problem with self-promoting his talent.

Morton was born into a creole family in Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of downtown New Orleans, Louisiana. The exact date of his birth is unknown. Morton started playing music as a child, and showed incredible talent at the skill. After his parents separated his mother met and married a man with the name Mouton; that is how the name “Morton” came about. He worked in a brothel playing the piano at the age of 14-years-old and lying to his great-grandmother of his whereabouts, and that is when the name “Jelly Roll” was born, which was slang talk for a woman’s genitalia. Once Morton’s great grandmother found out what he was up to she threw him out her home.

Morton started touring in 1904, he worked in minstrel shows and taking other jobs to put money in his pockets. Morton played on the West Coast from 1917 to 1922 and then moved to Chicago where he hit his stride. Morton’s 1923 and 1924 recordings of piano solos for the Gennett label were very popular and influential. He formed the band the Red Hot Peppers and made a series of classic records. Morton frequently claimed to be the “inventor” of both jazz music and the term itself. One thing that is a fact “Jelly Roll Morton,”  was a key figure in the birth and development of jazz because he had so many talents: pianist, composer, arranger, and bandleader.





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