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Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and "Inventor of Jazz" Paperback


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Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and "Inventor of Jazz" + Cajun and Creole Music Makers: Musiciens cadiens et créoles + French, Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Updated, with a New Afterword by Lawrence Gushee edition (November 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520225309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520225305
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lomax . . . fashioned a biography that, for utter candor and spontaneity of utterance, rivals the self-revelations of Rousseau and Saint Augustine." -- Chicago Tribune

"No one with even the slightest feeling for the subject can afford to miss this book." -- San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Alan Lomax, with his father John A. Lomax, created the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress and published many anthologies, including American Ballads and Folk Songs and The Folk Songs of North America. Lomax produced the first albums of American folk song in 1939 and has edited more than a hundred recordings from all parts of the world. He received the National Medal of Arts in 1986. Lawrence Gushee is Professor Emeritus at the School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Tony Thomas on August 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unlike many works that Alan Lomax had has hand in, this book is great reading, if nothing more. I am not known to be a fan of Alan Lomax and his father as my review of _The Land Where the Blues Began_ attests, but at least Lomax realized what a treasure Jelly Roll Morton was and interviewed him and also had Morton create hours and hours of singing and piano music.

This book offers a digest of hours and hours of interviews with Morton in the late 1930s when Morton was living in Washington. It is supplemented by some very useful interviews Lomax did with New Orleans musicians and their families in the late 1940s. The New Orleans interviews provide very useful direct source material about the social and culture and professional milieu that both Creole and Black musicians in New Orleans Sprang from. A recently written criticial review by a real scholar at the close of the book explains the great limitations of Lomax's selections and writngs here.

Lomax apparently knew little about the real history and processes of New Orleans jazz and life, so that a lot of questions that someone interest in Morton's impact on music are not asked, not just in what Lomax selected to put in this book, but in the larger transcripts of Lomax's interviews and in the monologues Morton dictated to a stenographer as part of this project. Lomax's tendency is to seek out non-musical issue his stereotypical images of Blues and Jazz musicians call forth. This is quite unfortunate because to the end of his life, Morton had a very sophsiticated and articulate understanding of music and was capable of serious discussion of jazz and blues in formal musical terminology. He was a person who seriously thought about music most of the time when he was not playing it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By FloozyFlapper1926 on January 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of the rare books for it can be enjoyed by just about anyone who picks it up. Its the amazing account of the life of Jelly Roll Morton, one of the best jazz pianists of all time. Though a braggart and troubled man, he created some of the very best pieces of jazz. The book goes into his life from his childhood and his time working at Storyville to the very troubled end in the early forties. You learn about his family, his troubled relationships with Anita and Mabel and how he went from being wildly successful to dying virtually forgotten. Voodoo, New Orleans, jazz and Creole culture, its all here.
Written with flair and never boring, Mr. Jelly Roll is a book that you will read more than once. Its a look at a legend and a glimpse into a world we can only know of through books and music. Get this if you want a good read and a look at Mr. Morton's life. A true classic.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Alan Lomax interviewed Jelly Roll while doing an extensive set of recordings shortly before Morton's death. He followed up with a number of interviews with people who knew Jelly Roll. Lomax did a fabulous job of keeping himself out of the way while letting the often colorful information from the interviews tell the story of Jelly's part in the birth of jazz, a story with triumphs, massive ego and ultimate decline. I read a library copy and am buying a copy for a present.
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