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Jelly Roll Morton: 1926-1930 Box set, Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, September 12, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Every available side from the peak period of this pioneering jazz pianist/composer! Jelly Roll's hits Black Bottom Stomp; Original Jelly Roll Blues; Grandpa's Spells , and Wolverine Blues join Dead Man Blues; Wild Man Blues; Freakish , and more. 99 remastered tracks including unissued alternates!

In both sound quality and price, England's JSP Records continues to put the American major labels to shame with their prewar jazz collections. Following superb multidisc releases of seminal recordings by Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhardt, JSP now offers this Jelly Roll Morton compendium, which includes all his Victor recordings from 1926 to 1930. Thanks to the work of remastering guru John R.T. Davies and a sinfully reasonable price, this five-disc collection far surpasses any U.S. release. The music is exuberant and evocative throughout, as Morton's substantial composing and arranging talents come into clear focus. He was able to maintain the joyous ensemble spirit of New Orleans jazz while continuing the music's evolution toward swing's sophistication. Focusing on Morton's Chicago prime, volume 1 is full of highlights, not just of this set, but of early jazz as a whole. Especially noteworthy is the trio date with the Dodds brothers, from June 1927, that yielded "The Pearls," "Wolverine Blues," and "Mr. Jelly Lord."

Volume 2 follows Morton to New York and features a few forceful piano solos, a strong session with trumpeter Red Allen and unsung clarinet player Albert Nicholas, plus a standout trio date with clarinetist Barney Bigard and drummer Zutty Singleton. Volume 3 is not as consistently brilliant, but offers some gems as well, including cuts with Nicholas and trumpeter Ward Pinkett on board from July 1930. The final two discs contain mostly alternative takes, but unfortunately, the masters of Morton's terrific New York session debut are for some reason buried at the end of disc four's alternates. It is, however, a tiny caveat considering the overall worth of this indispensable box. --Marc Greilsamer

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Black Bottom Stomp
  2. Smoke House Blues
  3. The Chant
  4. Sidewalk Blues
  5. Dead Man Blues
  6. Steamboat Stomp
  7. Someday Sweetheart
  8. Grandpa's Spells
  9. Original Jelly Roll Blues
  10. Doctor Jazz
  11. Cannonball Blues
  12. Hyena Stomp
  13. Billy Goat Stomp
  14. Wild Man Blues
  15. Jungle Blues
  16. Beale Street Blues
  17. The Pearls
  18. Wolverine Blues
  19. Mr. Jelly Lord

Disc: 2

  1. Red Hot Pepper
  2. Deep Creek
  3. Pep
  4. Seattle Hunch
  5. Frances (Fat Frances)
  6. Freakish
  7. Burnin' The Iceberg
  8. Courthouse Bump
  9. Pretty Lil
  10. Sweet Aneta Mine
  11. New Orleans Bump
  12. Down My Way
  13. Try Me Out
  14. Tank Town Bump
  15. Sweet Peter
  16. Jersey Joe
  17. Mississippi Mildred
  18. Mint Julep
  19. Smilin' The Blues Away
  20. Turtle Twist
  21. My Little Dixie Home
  22. That's Like It Ought To Be

Disc: 3

  1. Each Day
  2. If Somebody Would Only Love Me
  3. That'll Never Do
  4. I'm Looking For A Little Bluebird
  5. Little Lawrence
  6. Harmony Blues
  7. Fussy Mabel
  8. Ponchatrain
  9. Oil Well
  10. Load Of Coal (Load Of Cole)
  11. Crazy Chords
  12. Primrose Stomp
  13. Low Gravy
  14. Strokin' Away
  15. Blue Blood Blues
  16. Mushmouth Shuffle
  17. Gambling Jack
  18. Fickle Day Creep

Disc: 4

  1. The Chant
  2. Sidewalk Blues
  3. Dead Man Blues
  4. Someday Sweetheart
  5. Grandpa's Spells
  6. Original Jelly Roll Blues
  7. Cannonball Blues
  8. Hyena Stomp
  9. Billy Goat Stomp
  10. Wild Man Blues
  11. Jungle Blues
  12. Beale Street Blues
  13. The Pearls
  14. Wolverine Blues
  15. Georgia Swing
  16. Kansas City Stomps
  17. Shoe Shiner's Drag
  18. Boogaboo
  19. Shreveport
  20. Mournful Serenade

Disc: 5

  1. Shreveport
  2. Seattle Hunch
  3. Freakish
  4. Burnin' The Iceberg
  5. Courthouse Bump
  6. Pretty Lil
  7. Sweet Aneta Mine
  8. New Orleans Bump (Monrovia)
  9. Tank Town Bump
  10. Sweet Peter
  11. Jersey Joe
  12. Mississippi Mildred
  13. Each Day
  14. Oil Well
  15. Load Of Cole (Load Of Coal)
  16. Crazy Chords
  17. Primrose Stomp
  18. Strokin' Away
  19. Blue Blood Blues
  20. Gambling Jack

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Jsp Records
  • ASIN: B00004WK09
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,919 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 81 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Jelly Roll Morton made a lot of exaggerated claims in his life, taking credit for the birth of jazz. No one really believes these claims, but it's amazing how much truth there is to them. For one thing, Jelly Roll Morton revolutionized the form, more than Charlie Parker did and maybe even Louis Armstrong. His early RCA Victor recordings laid much of the music's foundation, particularly the Chicago "Red Hot Peppers" recordings, and Morton himself has been hailed as the first great jazz composer in a long tradition of composers that include Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Wayne Shorter. Simply put, you can't say enough about the greatness and the importance of Morton's music.
This collection by JSP is an absolute godsend. Originally a British import that received poor circulation in the U.S., it went out of print for many years when JSP was bought by another company that went on to re-issue all of their CD's. As any jazz collector can tell you, these CD's are famous for the meticulous remastering done by jazz archivist/sound expert, John T. R. Davies, and this Jelly Roll Morton box set is one of THE gems of the JSP catalog. It covers pretty much the same recording as the RCA Victor box set, "Centennial," including every track of Morton's best and most famous work with his Red Hot Peppers. JSP's box set is much more preferable than the RCA Victor set for many reasons. First, alternate takes are place on separate discs (RCA stacks them on top of the master take), which makes for better listening. Second, the JSP box is much less expensive. Third and most important of all is sound quality.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Ed Brickell on November 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Gotta agree with the other reviewer: I've heard both the RCA Victor set and the JSP set, and there is simply no comparison: the JSP set is far superior in terms of remasterd sound quality. Plus, the alternate takes for a particular recording are spread out across the set, which makes listening a lot easier. And 'nuff said about the music: except for a handful of embarrassing novelty numbers, this is some of the most vital and inspired jazz ever recorded. If you like Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Sevens, you're going to like this.
Provided you can read the microscopic printing on the CD booklet notes, they're serviceable. But if you're really interested in "Mr. Jelly Lord," there are some good books available that will probably serve you better.
The CD booklet covers leave a lot to be desired; this is definitely a "budget" set. But if you listen to the music instead of look at the packaging, this set has it all over the RCA set -- and at a bargain box price, at that.
Get it now before it goes out of print again.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By nadav haber on April 14, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you want your CD collection to contain only the greatest recordings of the 20th century, then in the field of Jazz this is one collection you should have (along with Armstrong, Bechet, Ellington, Basie, Parker, Miles Davis, and Coltrane).
The music played by Morton in the 20's ranked 2nd to none, although there was no soloist of Armstrong's calibre in his bands (there was only ONE Armstrong !). Morton skills as an arranger, composer and pianist were above everyone else during this period.
The first CD is from 09/26 to 06/27. There are the all time classics such as Doctor Jazz, Dead Man blues, and the tracks with the great clarinettist Johnny Dodds (the last eight tracks). Dodds presence added something extra to what was already great music. The last two tracks offer a chance to hear Morton the pianist - as he is joined only by the Dodds brothers.
The 2nd CD offers anything from piano solos to a semi big band, recorded in 1929. Instead of Dodds we have the opportunity to hear Barney Bigard and Zutty Singleton, two other New Orleans giants, join Morton for a trio on the last four tracks. There are also highlights featuring a band with Henry Allen, J.C Higginbotham, Paul Barbarin and Pops Foster, among others.
The 3rd CD was recorded during 1930, and is actually the last CD of the box set, as the remaing two CD's contain alternative takes of songs that appear in the first three. It contains swinging music, and such names as Wilbur De Paris, Bubber Miley and Albert Nicholas. I love "Harmony Blues", "Ponchatrain" - to me this is just outstanding music.
CD's 4 and 5 are alternative takes of some of the best songs. They offer a chance to see how much of the music was actually improvised and how much was written down.
Overall - for its musical depths, it historic value, its great remastering, and the very reasonable price - this is HIGHLY recommended.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Todd R. Brown on July 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The reviewer of Nov. 1, 2002, who complained about the sound quality of disc one's cuts is missing a crucial problem about the U.S. CD-issue of those songs. As Gary Giddins noted in his book "Visions of Jazz," while the Bluebird tracks were produced to eliminate surface noise--static and scratchiness--they also wound up losing a lot of treble and bass, the high and low ends of the sonic spectrum. The JSP disc restores that dimension to the sound, albeit with the noise returned to the mix. But the vigor and pulse of the playing, the depth of the resonance of the sounds being created by the band, is of far greater value to listeners than an artificially "cleaned up" sound. It's not a question of the songs sounding bass-heavy; of course you want to be able to HEAR the bass, as you can't with so many other jazz recordings of the era. Give these tunes another listen and see if you don't agree.
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Jelly Roll Morton: 1926-1930
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