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

Original Jelly Roll Blues

7. “Original Jelly Roll Blues” (recorded Dec. 16, 1926; available on Jazz King of New Orleans, Bluebird/BMG, 2002)

We’re back in 1926 for “Jelly Roll Blues,” which Morton begins with a series of eloquent, pithy phrases that could have been from one of those solo Art Tatum dates of the 1950s. Tatum, though sui generis, must have dug Morton. The latter had a gift for blending punchiness with a lilt. Again, the jazz is nearly aromatic; you can smell the beer and the smoke. The time changes signify that this was no ordinary blues, but an imbricated affair in which rhythmic complexity is made to sound so damn easy.