"Jelly Roll" Morton, jazz, pianist/leader/composer/vocals
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
d. July 10, 1941, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
né: Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe. Born into a Creole family, he took the name "Morton" by Anglicizing the name of his step-father, Mouton.

American musician Jelly Roll Morton (1885 - 1941) was America's first great jazz composer and one of the foremost contributors to American music. A pioneering jazz musician and leader as well, Morton claimed to have invented the term jazz and the musical style itself at the height of the Swing Era in 1902 while he performed in New Orleans. Morton was also an influential composer; his works were widely recorded, reaching a vast audience.

Although an important and respected innovator in the transitional period from early to orchestral jazz, Morton had a predilection for embellishing the truth about himself. Because of this, the validity of his claim that he invented the term "jazz" is uncertain. With a penchant for the ostentatious, Morton was known for his colorful clothing and the diamond in his front tooth. Morton's vast output of work was recorded in 1938 at the Library of Congress during a series of several interviews. The resulting eight hours have been called by the Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, "perhaps the most important oral history of jazz ever issued."
Much of the information about Morton's early life is uncertain, due in no small measure to his tendency to invent facts about himself. He was born Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe, on either September 20, 1885, or October 20, 1890, and probably in Gulfport, Louisiana, or Gulfport, Mississippi. Morton's creole father, E.P. Le Menthe (or LaMothe), was a carpenter. La Menthe was also a classically-schooled trombonist and took young Morton to the French Opera House in New Orleans. But La Menthe abandoned the family when Morton was very young. After Morton's mother married Willie Morton, the boy lived in Biloxi and Meridian, Mississippi, and then in New Orleans, mostly under the care of his aunt and godmother, Eulalie - or "Lallie" - Echo.

Morton's Aunt Lallie took him everywhere, including saloons and even jail. But it was in jail, when he heard the inmates singing, that Morton found his first musical inspiration. His first musical instrument, though made of a tin pan and two chair legs, sounded to him like a symphony. Soon Morton learned to play other, more traditional instruments. By age five he could play the harmonica and at age six he had mastered the Jews' harp. Morton was an accomplished guitarist by age seven.

He studied the guitar and was soon playing in street bands. He then learned the trombone, which he played in the houses of the red light district in New Orleans known as Storyville. By the time he was a teenager, he also played the piano, which he learned after hearing a concert at the opera house. His aunt sent him to study for a time with a black university professor of music. Morton's mother died when he was 14 or 15, but his aunt was by far the greatest influence in his life.

A firm believer in voodoo, his aunt kept glasses of water around the house from which Morton believed he heard voices echoing in the night. Morton also heard chains rattling and the sewing machine running. He would forever be influenced by voodoo and always kept holy water near his bed.
Morton began to earn money - $20 in tips on his first night - as a pianist and gambler in the red light district of New Orleans. Morton's family had great respect for opera, but any other type of music was considered inappropriate, so when his aunt found out where the money for Morton's new clothes was coming from, she threw him out of the house so he would not corrupt his younger sisters.

Discovered Jazz
In 1902, Morton met famous ragtime pianist and composer Tony Jackson. Morton began meeting with Jackson and other musicians in back rooms after all the nightclubs closed, playing until the afternoon. Morton claimed that jazz was born there and that the word was his invention. About this time, he wrote "New Orleans Blues" and "King Porter Stomp," among other early tunes.

When he left his aunt's house, Morton also left New Orleans, never to return. He wandered the country, spending time in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Chicago in 1904, and in Mobile, Alabama, in 1905. He found work as a musician, a pool shark, and a gambler. Morton even worked as a vaudeville comedian in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1908, and three years later he toured with McCabe's Minstrel Troubadours in St. Louis and Kansas City.

In 1911, Morton arrived in New York City sporting a diamond in his front tooth. It was there that he first played "Jelly Roll Blues," which was published for orchestra in Chicago in 1915, making it perhaps the first jazz orchestration ever published. Several more Morton orchestrations would follow.
Success in the 1920s
The 1920s were Morton's most productive years. He was offered a job in Los Angeles in 1917, where he worked as a bandleader and in other entertainment areas. He also traveled a great deal, performing anywhere from Alaska to Tijuana, Mexico. While in Los Angeles, he began a relationship with Anita Johnson (or Gonzales), a girlfriend from New Orleans. Johnson had owned a saloon in Las Vegas but moved to Los Angeles and bought a small hotel. Morton often referred to her as his wife, although there is no record of their marriage. Johnson was musically inclined herself, and she wrote the lyrics for Morton's "Dead Man Blues." Johnson had a good singing voice, as well, but Morton never allowed her to perform. She also traveled with him when he went on tour, mainly because Morton was intensely jealous of her and did not want her out of his sight.

By this time, Morton owned several small businesses. He was making money and establishing a name for himself. Morton was not above being ostentatious and boastful. He sometimes showed friends a trunk full of money, and his diamond-studded apparel and teeth were well known. Yet, there was no denying his distinctive personality. He was part showman and part sideshow barker. In an age when musicians all wore tuxedos, Morton preferred white trousers and shoes, a wine-colored jacket, and diamonds on his tie and his socks. But he was a dedicated composer, often waking up at night to scribble ideas and later demanding that the band musicians followed his compositions to the note.
In 1922 or 1923, Morton left Johnson and Los Angeles, returning to Chicago. For the next five years, he was the staff arranger for the Melrose Publishing House. A great number of his compositions were recorded during this period, including influential pieces on the Gennett label. He recorded "London Blues," "Grandpa's Spell," and "The Pearls." He also spent some time with a group of white musicians known as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. Morton was one of the first blacks to play in a mixed band.
Morton reached the height of his popularity between 1926 and 1930. He formed a band called the Red Hot Peppers and produced several classic recordings for the Victor label, both in Chicago and New York. The classics "Kansas City Stomp," "Sidewalk Blues," "The Chant Mournful Serenade," and "Ponchatrain Blues" were released during this period. Morton's Chicago recordings also featured some of the best sidemen from New Orleans, such as Kid Ory on the trombone and Baby Dodds on the drums. He also found time to tour with W.C. Handy and played piano with Henry Crowder's band.

While at the Plantation Club in Chicago in 1927, Morton first met Mabel Bertrand, a creole dancer who had been raised in a convent after her parents died and who had entertained in Europe. They were married in 1928 and traveled together in Morton's Lincoln, while the rest of the band rode in a colorful bus proclaiming, "Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers." In 1928, Morton spent two months at Harlem's Rose Danceland in New York City. The following year he led an all-girl revue in Chicago, and in 1931 he was back in Harlem with his own ensemble. He became the house pianist in Harlem's Red Apple Club in 1934.
~The Depression Took Its Toll
By this time, the Depression was taking its toll on the recording industry. Big bands with 
such colorful figures as Louis Armstrong were coming into fashion, and Morton did not 
adapt to this new style. Due to his failure to adapt, Morton's success and prestige were 
His fall in popularity as a bandleader had also nearly collapsed his financial empire when he moved to Washington, D.C. in 1935 for a long engagement at a the Jungle Club.

One night at the club in 1939, Morton admonished and then slapped a rowdy club patron. The man attacked Morton with a knife, slicing Morton in the head and chest. He never fully recovered from the incident, which only aggravated other existing health problems. In order to survive, Morton began accepting small weekly checks from Catholic Charities.
For a short time in 1938, Morton established a music publishing company in New York. 
With his recordings, he took advantage of public interest once again focused on the New Orleans jazz style. But his health was failing. Morton returned to Los Angeles in 1940, leaving 
his wife behind, although he kept in touch with her. While in Los Angeles, he renewed his 
relationship with Anita Johnson. Hoping that the California climate would restore his 
health, Morton formed a new band. Before long, his failing strength made it impossible to 

In May of 1941, Morton checked into Los Angeles County General Hospital. On June 10, at the age of fifty, Morton died in Johnson's arms. The cause of death was heart failure resulting from chronic high blood pressure. A high mass was sung for Jelly Roll Morton in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. His pallbearers included Kid Ory and other members of his band. Morton's will did not mention his wife. Whatever he had of value, including royalties, was bequeathed to Anita Johnson.
~Morton's Legacy
George C. Wolfe's 1992 Broadway musical, Jelly's Last Jam, was loosely based on Morton's life. Recognized as the first great composer of jazz, he was an excellent pianist and an intelligent innovator who changed the early ragtime style into a new form. Morton's early works have become collector's items. Perhaps no jazz musician from the early days is now so completely recorded on disc. Morton's great legacy is found in the eight hours of recordings and interviews collected together by Alan Lomax in 1938 and released to the public ten years later.

His compositions and arrangements, many of which reflect his Creole background, include “Dead Man Blues,” “Jelly Roll Blues,” “King Porter Stomp,” “Black Bottom Stomp,” “Mama Nita,” “Mamie's Blues” (or “219 Blues”), “Moi pas l'aimez ça,” “The Pearls,” “Sidewalk Blues,” and “Wolverine Blues”. The publication of his collected scores in 1982 helped to spark a Morton revival in the United States.
~See biography by A. Lomax (1950).

Jelly Roll Quotes:
"Get up from that piano. You hurtin' its feelings" 
"In 1908 Handy didn't know anything about the blues and he doesn't know anything about jazz and stomps to this day. I myself figured out the peculiar form of mathematics and harmonies that was strange to all the world but me. " 
"My contributions were many: First clown director, with witty sayings and flashily dressed, now called master of ceremonies." 
"I have been robbed of three million dollars all told. Everyone today is playing my stuff and I don't even get credit. Kansas City style, Chicago style, New Orleans style hell, they're all Jelly Roll style."
Wikipedia Bio
*(NOTE: SOME SOURCES GIVE JELLY ROLL’S BIRTHDAY AS SEPT. 20th..and some as October 20th)

Harry Brooks
b. Homestead, PA, USA
d. 1970.
Composer Harry Brooks was born September 20, 1895, in Homestead, PA, and remains best-known for the jazz perennial "Ain't Misbehavin'," his 1929 collaboration with Fats Waller and lyricist Andy Razaf. The same trio also joined forces for "(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue" and "Jungle Jamboree." In 1938, Brooks also co-wrote "Southern Sunset (When the Sun Sets Down South)" with Sidney Bechet and Noble Sissle, but was otherwise known less as a composer than as a pianist. He died June 22, 1970, in Teaneck, NJ. 
~ Jason Ankeny

John Elbert Collins, guitar
b. Montgomery, AL, USA.
 d. Oct 4, 2001, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Frank DeVol, leader
b. Moundsville, W.Va. USA.
Frank Denny De Vol, also known simply as De Vol was an American arranger, composer and actor.

Paul Howard, tenor sax/leader
 b. USA. d. 1980, USA.
~by Scott Yanow
Although not a major soloist himself, Paul Howard has a certain amount of fame among vintage jazz collectors because his Quality Serenaders was an exciting band in the late 1920s; among his sidemen were Lionel Hampton (on drums) and trombonist Lawrence Brown. Howard, who came from a musical family, started on cornet, switched to alto, and also had training on clarinet, oboe, bassoon, flute and piano before settling on tenor. He moved to Los Angeles in 1911 and started working professionally in 1916 with Wood Wilson's Syncopators and Satchel McVea's Howdy band.
Howard played for a time with Harry Southard's Black and Tan Band. In the early '20s when King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton were briefly based in California, Howard spent time in both of their bands. He played with the Quality Four during 1922-1923 (making his recording debut with that group), worked with Sonny Clay in 1925, and then put together the Quality Serenaders in 1925; the exciting unit was based at Sebastian's Cotton Club during 1927-1929. The band broke up in 1930 and Les Hite took over the nucleus.
Howard worked with Ed Garland's 111 Band, Freddy Washington, Lionel Hampton (1935), Eddie Barefield's Orchestra (1936-1937), Charlie Echols, and his own bands including one that was based at Virginia's in L.A. during 1939-1953. Paul Howard, who was an official in his Musicians' Union, continued playing into the '50s but is mostly known for his 12 (plus one alternate take) Victor recordings of 1929-1930 with the Quality Serenaders, some of the finest examples existing of late-'20s jazz.

Jackie Paris, singer/guitar 
b. Nutley, NJ, USA
d. June 17, 2004, New York, NY, USA.
Age: 79. (bone Cancer.)
née: Carlo Jackie Paris.
As a child, with encouragement from friends such as famed dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and an uncle who had been a guitarist in Paul Whiteman's orchestra, Jackie broke into vaudeville with a 'song and dance' act. The early 1940's found him working as a singer/and guitarist in New York city.
During WW2, he served in the U. S. Army for two years before returning to New York in 1946, where he found some work on that city's famed 52nd Street - "Jazz Street", working sometimes as leader of his own trio, and other times as a sideman (most notably with Charlie "Yardbird" Parker). During his career, Jackie toured with, and performed with, the Charlie Parker Quintet (Miles Davis, Max Roach, Duke Jordan and Tommy Potter).
For two years during the 1950's, he toured with Lionel Hampton Big Band where he was billed as "The Voice". He also recorded with the original Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. Jackie also recorded the first vocal rendition of Thelonius Monk's classic standard "Round Midnight", and was the first vocal artist on Mingus' label 'Debut', with "Portrait" and "Paris in Blue", which Mingus wrote for him. (Jackie was one of Mingus' favorite singers.)
In his later years Paris taught master classes, and gave private lessons while continuing to record and perform. In 2001, he recorded "The Intimate Jackie Paris," for the small 'Hudson' label. Curiously, a career that amassed glowing reviews and the admiration of his peers, never brought him great fame. Still, -he will always be recalled as one fine singers of the Jazz vocals era.

Roy Turk, lyricist
b. New York, NY, USA
d. November 30, 1934, Hollywood, CA, USA.
Roy Turk was a U.S. songwriter. A lyricist, he frequently collaborated with composer Fred E. Ahlert – their popular 1928 song "Mean to Me" has become a jazz standard. He worked with many other composers, including for film lyrics. Turk was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
American lyricist Roy Turk wrote popular hits during the 1920s and early '30s, many of which were used in Broadway and Hollywood musicals of the time. Born in N.Y.C., in 1892, Turk studied at CCNY and then served in the military during WWI. After being discharged from the service, Turk got his start in the music business with jobs writing for vaudeville and publishing houses, and his first hit came with 1919's "Oh How I Laugh When I Think How I Cried About You."
Turk landed only a few more hits over the next few years, and the first stage production to use some of his songs, Plantation Revue (1922), was unsuccessful; but 1923 brought a success that helped establish Turk's career, Earl Carroll's Vanities of 1923. He wrote two successful songs for this show, and two more independent hits that year. From this point until a year before his death, Turk had several hits each year, including tunes for the 1930 films In Gay Madrid, Free and Easy, and Children of Pleasure. Some of his best-known songs are "Aggravatin' Papa" (1922), "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" (1926), "I'll Get By" (1928), "Mean to Me" (1929), "Walkin' My Baby Back Home," "I Don't Know Why," Bing Crosby's theme song "Where the Blue of the Night" (1931), "Love, You Funny Thing" (1932), and his final musical success, "I Couldn't Tell Them What to Do" (1933).

Turk's main collaborator during his career was composer Fred Ahlert, but he also co-wrote songs with composers Harry Akst, George Meyer, Maceo Pinkard, J. Russel Robinson, and Charles Tobias.
~ Joslyn Layne, Rovi

Francis Williams, Trumpet
b. McConnell's Mills, PA, USA.
d. Oct. 2, 1983.
A member of Duke Ellington's trumpet section for several years in the mid- to late '40s, Williams spent most of his career playing in big bands. Williams played trumpet in his high school band, then with trombonist Frank Terry's Chicago Nightingales for several years in the '30s. He moved to New York in 1940 and worked with pianist Fats Waller's big band.
In the years before joining Ellington, Williams played with Ella Fitzgerald, Claude Hopkins, and Machito, among others. Williams played with Ellington from 1945-1949, and again in 1951. In the '50s, he worked with Latin bands and pit orchestras. He played with Earl Coleman from 1959-1962, then spent several more years playing Broadway shows. In the '70s, Williams gigged and toured with Clyde Bernhardt; he also played solo dates overseas and worked with both the Harlem Blues & Jazz Band and Panama Francis' Savoy Sultans. ~ Chris Kelsey

Notable Events Occurring
On This Date Include:

WNBC-TV, New York became the first TV station to promote a motion picture, showing scenes from 'The (Al) Jolson Story'.
The Jolson Story - Wikipedia

Curley Weaver, guitar
died in Covington, GA, USA.
Age: 56

Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Arthur Pryor's Band
  • The Minstrel Boy


Art Hickman and his Orchestra


Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra - I Love You


Wilbur Sweatman and His Acme Syncopators - Battleship Kate

Clara Smith


Harry Reser and his Orchestra
  • Hum ! Hum ! Hum ! Hum Your Troubles Away
  • Just A Bird's-Eye View (Of My Old Kentucky Home)

The Tennessee Tooters (As The Wolverines)


Ben Bernie and his Orchestra

Frank Black and his Orchestra
  • The Best Things in Life Are Free Varsity Drag (voc. f.b.)

The California Ramblers - Nothin' Does-Does Like It Used To Do-Do-Do

Ted Weems and his Orchestra


The Clevelanders - Why (Do I Love You Like I Do) (voc. e.r.)

Cannon Jug Stompers - Cairo Rag 

The Rhythmic Eight

Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra - Take Your Tomorrow (And Give Me Today)
  • Love Affairs

Sammy Stewart and his Orchestra
  • Scadatin-Dee


Blue Steele and his Orchestra
  • You're So Different

Leo Reisman and his Orchestra - Why Was I born

Fess Williams Royal Flush orchestra - Ain't Misbehavin' - tune: waller-brooks-razaf

Annette Hanshaw - Tip Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me


Annette Hanshaw - Say It Isn't So

Hal Kemp and his Orchestra
  • You'll Get By (with the twinkle in your eye)


Freddy Martin and his Orchestra
  • Be Careful


Joe Venuti's Blue Four/Five/Six


Duke Ellington and his Orchestra

Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra
  • Crescendo in Blue 
  • Dusk on the Desert - Tune: Ellington; Mills Chatterbox - Tune: Stewart; Ellington; Mills Harmony in Harlem


Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra


Hal Kemp and his Orchestra
  • Lilacs in the Rain

Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye
  • My Prayer

Gene Krupa and his Orchestra
  • I Like To Recognize The Tune

Horace Heidt Musical Knights
  • Are You Having Any Fun


Will Bradley Orchestra
  • Beat Me Daddy (Eight To A Bar)

Bing Crosby
  • Only Forever


Bing Crosby
  • Along The Navajo Trail

Benny Goodman
  • It's Only A Paper Moon

It's Only A Paper Moon

I never feel a thing is real
When I'm away from you
Out of your embrace
The world's a temporary parking place
Mmm, mm, mm, mm
A bubble for a minute
Mmm, mm, mm, mm
You smile, the bubble has a rainbow in it

Say, its only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me
Yes, it's only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me
Without your love
It's a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It's a melody played in a penny arcade
It's a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Why Was I Born?

Spending these lonesome evenings
With nothing to do
But to live in dreams that I make up
All by myself 

Dreaming that you're beside me
I picture the prettiest stories
Only to wake up
All by myself 
What is the good of me by myself?

Why was I born
Why am I living
What do I get
What am I giving
Why do I want a thing
I daren't hope for
What can I hope for
I wish I knew
Why do I try
To draw you near me
Why do I do I cry
You never hear me
I'm a poor fool
But what can I do
Why was I born
To love you
I'm a poor fool 
But what can I do
Why was I born to love you

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