Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Black Bottom Stomp

10. “Black Bottom Stomp” (recorded Sept. 15, 1926; available on Jazz King of New Orleans, Bluebird/BMG, 2002)

I have a little line I sometimes trot out that goes something like, “If you don’t like Jelly Roll Morton, you don’t like jazz.” Is it true? True enough, I’d say. Morton is the realest of jazz deals. His Red Hot Peppers band was a swagger unit because Morton was a swagger pianist. Just as Jerry Lee Lewis all but threw the Nashville Teens forward on his Live at the Star Club album, so too does Morton lash the Peppers to the wheel on 1926’s “Black Bottom Stomp.” The stomp in question is a foxtrot turned up to 11. Enlivened with humor, the song feels like a breathless story that someone just had to tell you, lest they burst. The band drops out for Morton’s solo, as if out of respect for his commanding swing. Everyone wants to sit back and listen.