lly Jelly Roll Morton
Blake and "Jelly Roll" Morton had several things in
common. Each got their start playing the piano in sporting
houses, Eubie in Baltimore "Jelly Roll" Morton at
Storyville in New Orleans, but both were around for the beginning
of jazz. We all tend to believe jazz started in New Orleans.
In America it did start there, but it began long before in far
away places. Just as it was for people, New Orleans was a melting
pot for jazz. Eubie began his career in the pre-jazz era of
ragtime. Scott Joplin was famous for writing ragtime music and
Eubie could really play Joplin's music. He also composed some
of his own.
fundamental earthy rhythms of early jazz had come from Africa
with the slaves. When
they danced to their own music in Congo Square, the sound
was contagious, and in some strange fashion, it always had
a certain association with voodoo. Some of the dance rituals
of voodoo were incorporated into jazz also. A little of that
influence still lingers today. Probably at least half of the
jazz musicians still keep a few talismans or voodoo charms
the rhythms of ragtime and was an innovator, in that he blended
ragtime and rhythms and added new instruments which also blended
into jazz. Morton and
his band, the Red Hot Peppers, made early jazz recordings
Before returning to New Orleans, Morton performed
in Washington D.C., New York, and Harlem. The introduction
of brass instruments added a new dimension to jazz and became
the source of several local stories.
how, you might ask, did jazz get its name? Apparently F. Scott
Fitzgerald used "Jazz" in reference to the 1920's. In his mind, "Jazz"
described the fast moving life en vogue during that historic
era, therefore, he called it The Jazz Age. Fitzgerald did
not know jazz was a word used in Congo Square that had a sexual
connotation. Well, all in all it was pretty sexy music. Ragtime
became extremely fashionable.Nevertheless,
the name Jazz stuck but some bands spelled it Jass.
The Original Dixieland Jazz Band was white; however, they
modeled the Dixieland sound after New Orleans black jazz bands
and took it to New York, where it was first recorded
predominant sound came from brothels in Storyville, the red-light
district where jazzmen created it.