It’s Jelly Roll Morton’s Birthday

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

 

Happy Birthday, Jelly Roll Morton!

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

 

August 13, 2019 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

 

Today’s piece is Hungarian Dance #5 by Johannes Brahms.  It’s available in Alfred Premier Piano Course Book 4 and many anthologies of classical music.

The Hungarian Dances are a set of 21 lively dance tunes based mostly on Hungarian themes, completed in 1869.

They vary from about a minute to five minutes in length. They are among Brahms’s most popular works and were the most profitable for him. Each dance has been arranged for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. Brahms originally wrote the version for piano four hands and later arranged the first ten dances for solo piano.

Orchestra

 

Piano Duo

This has been embellished quite a bit

 

Violin

Ragtime (Bill Edwards)

 

July 15, 2019 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

“The Entertainer” is a 1902 classic piano rag written by Scott Joplin. It was sold first as sheet music, and in the 1910s as piano rolls that would play on player pianos.

It was used as the theme music for the 1973 Oscar-winning film The Sting by composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch.
The Sting was set in the 1930s, a full generation after the end of ragtime’s mainstream popularity, thus giving the inaccurate impression that ragtime music was popular at that time.

Find the sheet music in a variety of levels including Songs I Love to Play, Volume 1 and Alfred Premier Piano Course Book 4.  It’s also available in Piano Maestro and to borrow from the O’Connor Music Studio

 

 

As played in The Sting

 

Adam Swanson

 

Piano Duet

On an older piano

 

At Disney

 

Player piano

Harder than it needs to be

From a 4-year-old

Violin and piano

 

String Quartet

On guitar

 

Saxophone quartet

Miss Piggy sang The Entertainer

And, everyone’s favorite – the ice cream truck!

July 1, 2019 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today’s piece is Antonin Dvořák’s Humoresque #7.

Humoresques Op. 101 (B. 187), is a piano cycle by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, written during the summer of 1894. One writer says “the seventh Humoresque is probably the most famous small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s Für Elise.

Yo Yo Ma (cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin)

Orchestra:

 

Ragtime:

 

Jazz with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet

Zez Confrey gave this a makeover and included Way Down Upon the Swanee River:

 

 

 

Find the original Humoresque on IMSLP. The O’Connor Music Studio Lending Library has versions of Humoresque available at several levels and Confey’s Humorestless played in the video above.

 

June 28, 2019 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Korobeiniki is a nineteenth-century Russian folk song that tells the story of a meeting between a peddler and a girl, describing their haggling over goods in a veiled metaphor for courtship.

Outside Russia, “Korobeiniki” is widely known as the Tetris theme.

 

Piano duet:

 

Orchestral version:

 

For Boomwhackers:

Vocal:

 

Ragtime:

 

Balalaika:

 

Two bassoons:

The Red Army Choir:

Korobeiniki/Tetris is available in Piano Maestro on the iPad and I have several levels of sheet music for anyone who is interested.

Enjoy!

June 19, 2019 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today’s piece is one of those that piano students often try to learn on their own – or a friend will teach them the first 9 notes.  It’s usually played too fast and, often in the wrong octave, or the first couple notes are repeated too many times.

This is one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.

Stay tuned for the other one!

Fur Elise was not published during Beethoven’s lifetime, having been discovered by Ludwig Nohl 40 years after the composer’s death. The identity of “Elise” is unknown.

The very basic melody:

 

 

The actual beginning is a little more involved.

 

And, there’s more!

 

If you’d like to learn to play this piece correctly, find the sheet music at IMSLP, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music, and countless compilations of classical music available at the O’Connor Music Studio.

Follow along:

By Valentina Lisitsa:

 

Ragtime!

 

 

 

The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz in NYC:

 

Glass harp:

 

The Mystery Behind Für Elise:

 

Youtube has many, many more versions.  Beethoven would probably go nuts!