Legal name: Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe
Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (October 20, 1890 – July 10, 1941), known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was an American ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer who started his career in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton is perhaps most notable as jazz's first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential spirit and characteristics when notated. His composition "Jelly Roll Blues" was the first published jazz composition, in 1915. Morton is also notable for naming and popularizing the "Spanish Tinge" (habanera rhythm and tresillo), and for writing such standards as "King Porter Stomp", "Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", the last a tribute to New Orleans musicians from the turn of the 19th century to 20th century.
Notorious for his arrogance and self-promotion as often as recognized in his day for his musical talents, Morton claimed to have invented jazz outright in 1902 — much to the derision of later musicians and critics. The jazz historian, musician, and composer Gunther Schuller says of Morton's "hyperbolic assertions" that there is "no proof to the contrary" and that Morton's "considerable accomplishments in themselves provide reasonable substantiation". However, the scholar Katy Martin has argued that Morton's bragging was exaggerated by Alan Lomax in the book Mister Jelly Roll, and this portrayal has influenced public opinion and scholarship on Morton since.
- ^ Scott Yanow (1941-07-10). "Jelly Roll Morton | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
- ^ Giddins, Gary & Scott DeVeaux (2009). Jazz. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, ISBN 978-0-393-06861-0
- ^ Critic Scott Yanow writes, "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."
- ^ Schuller, Gunther (1986). The History of Jazz. Volume 2. Oxford University Press US. p. 136. ISBN 0-19-504043-0.
- ^ Martin, Katy. "The Preoccupations of Mr. Lomax, Inventor of the 'Inventor of Jazz'", Popular Music and Society 36.1, p. 30–39. Taylor and Francis, February 2013. doi:10.1080/03007766.2011.613225.