Just like he did with Gershwin, pianist/scholar Artis Wodehouse has taken Jelly Roll's player-piano rolls and put them through a Synclavier. The result: a unique opportunity to hear the Father of Jazz play his finest compositions in high fidelity!
In the same period that Jelly Roll Morton began making acoustic recordings of his piano solos, he was also making piano rolls of his strongest material. This CD presents piano rolls that Morton made in 1924, and producer Artis Wodehouse has done a remarkable job of recording them, capturing them with a convincingly live resonance. Morton was keenly aware of studio technology, and it's fascinating to hear him exploit the extended playing time that the piano rolls provided him. Several of these pieces stretch past four minutes, and tracks like "Stratford Hunch" and "Dead Man Blues" allow Morton to extend his variations further than recording allowed, providing another opportunity to hear Morton's innovative synthesis of ragtime, blues, and spontaneous inspiration. The piano sound compares favorably with even well-restored versions of Morton's contemporaneous acoustic recordings for Gennett, with brighter highs and firmer bass notes. --Stuart Broomer