Happy Birthday, Jelly Roll!

jelly-grandpa

 

 

Jelly Roll Morton, born Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe in 1885, was one of the most influential composers of the jazz era, bridging an important gap between ragtime, blues, and jazz. In a sense, he was the first great jazz composer.

His career began in New Orleans, where he began to experiment with a unique blend of blues, ragtime, Creole, and Spanish music in bordellos as a piano player. Along with being a musician, he also worked as a gambler, pool shark, vaudeville comedian, and was known for his flamboyant personality and diamond front tooth.

Morton became successful when he started making what would be some of the first jazz recordings in 1923 with “the New Orleans Rhythm Kings”. Whether he played on the West Coast, New Orleans, or in Chicago, his recordings were always very popular. He joined the group “the Red Hot Peppers” in 1924 and made several classic albums with the Victor label.

Nothing but success came to him until 1930, when “Hot Jazz” began to die out, and big bands began to take over. Morton died in 1941, claiming that a voodoo spell was the cause of his demise.

 

   anniversary of Morton’s death

  Read quotes by and about Morton

 

September 20 ~ in Music History

today

 

• 1880 ~ Ildebrando Pizzetti, Italian composer and educator

OCMS 1885 ~ “Jelly Roll” Morton, American jazz pianist and composer
Read quotes by and about Morton
More information about Morton

• 1911 ~ Frank DeVol, Bandleader, songwriter

• 1924 ~ Gogi Grant (Audrey Brown), Singer, dubbed vocals for Ann Blythe in The Helen Morgan Story

• 1927 ~ Johnny Dankworth, Alto sax, bandleader, composer

• 1945 ~ Laurie Spiegel, American composer

• 1946 ~ WNBT~TV, New York became the first station to promote a motion picture. It showed scenes from The (Al) Jolson Story.

• 1948 ~ One of the most popular singing groups of the 1950s got their professional start on this day. The Four Freshmen did their first gig in Fort Wayne, Indiana and went on to major success with Capitol Records. Hits included It’s a Blue World, Charmaine and Love is Just Around the Corner.

• 1969 ~ Sugar, Sugar, by the Archies, hit number one in Billboard. The Archies sat at the top of the hit heap for four weeks.

• 1973 ~ The in place for radio and record types to see, and be seen, opened in Los Angeles, to a sold-out crowd. On the opening bill at the Roxy Theatre: Elton John, Carole King and Jackson Browne.

• 1973 ~ Singer Jim Croce, his lead guitarist, Maury Muehleisen, and four others died when their plane crashed into a tree while taking off for a concert in Sherman, Texas.

• 1978 ~”Eubie!” opened at Ambassador Theater NYC for 439 performances

• 1989 ~ Musical “Miss Saigon,” premiered in London

• 1994 ~ Jule Styne, Broadway composer (Gypsy, Funny Girl), died at the age of 88