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

Jelly Roll Morton Birth of the Hot

6. “Wolverine Blues” (recorded June 10, 1927; available on Birth of the Hot: The Classic Chicago “Red Hot Peppers” Sessions 1926-27, Bluebird/BMG, 1995)

What a bloody band the Red Hot Peppers were, and their case for being one of the genre’s best-ever small groups is adroitly argued by this 1927 rendition of “Wolverine Blues.” Johnny Dodds is on clarinet, with his brother Baby Dodds, the traps master, doing his thing on drums. The song was huge in its time, badass, I guess you could say—it was Morton’s “Enter Sandman.” It makes me want to grow some claws and slash up a few trees. Morton’s piano might as well have had smoke coming out from under the soundboard. J. Dodds unleashes a grooving, funky solo, but check out the rhythm B. Dodds plays beneath him. Sick.