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Last Sessions - Complete General Recordings
Jelly Roll Morton
Last Sessions - Complete General Recordings
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1

When Jelly Roll Morton recorded this music in 1939 and 1940, the "Jazz Age" that he represented was rapidly becoming a subject of historical curiosity. Morton had already recorded extensively for the Library of Congress, r...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Jelly Roll Morton
Title: Last Sessions - Complete General Recordings
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Verve
Release Date: 1/28/1997
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop
Styles: Traditional Blues, New Orleans Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 011105040327, 0011105040327, 011105140324

Synopsis

Amazon.com
When Jelly Roll Morton recorded this music in 1939 and 1940, the "Jazz Age" that he represented was rapidly becoming a subject of historical curiosity. Morton had already recorded extensively for the Library of Congress, reminiscences as well as music, but there's nothing stale about these solo piano and band tracks, with Morton showing another dimension of himself as a laconic singer of traditional blues. The solo piano sessions find him reaching back to the New Orleans of his youth, playing ragtime and bordello specialties as well as a superbly relaxed version of his "King Porter Stomp." The songs are fascinating, including "Winin' Boy Blues," "Mamie's Blues" (which Morton introduces as "the first blues I no doubt heard in my life"), and "Buddy Bolden's Blues," the last with a cast of characters that includes the legendary trumpeter. There are also 12 band tracks, with Red Allen, Albert Nicholas, and Zutty Singleton among those joining the pianist. At their best these songs are fine expressions of Morton's music, with "Sweet Substitute" and "My Home Is in a Southern Town" showing the composer as a still-vital musical force. --Stuart Broomer

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CD Reviews

Superb Piano
B. D. Tutt | London, UK. | 02/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"These are Morton's final studio recordings (with just broadcasts of "Winin' Boy Blues" and "King Porter Stomp" to come. He was already seriously ill with a heart condition, but was still in fine form.The solos are classics: Scott Joplin's "Original Rags" is given a swinging performance, "The Crave" is one of Morton's beautiful "Spanish tinge" jazz tangos, whilst "King Porter Stomp" is one of Morton's strongest performances of his best known work: listen to how he builds up the tension in the third section. The vocal pieces are some of his most poignant recordings: "Mamies Blues" is a masterpiece - the counterpoint of Morton's blues baritone and his simple Jimmy Yancey like accompaniment is achingly melancholy. The one exception is "Animule Dance", undiscovered until 1988 and in poorer sound than the rest, but a rollicking performance of one of Morton's early show-pieces.The band recordings have a poorer reputation. Some of them (like "Dirty Dirty Dirty") represent Morton's attempt to break into the swing market, and are disappointing. However, "Sweet Substitute", subsequently Morton's last "standard", is given a fine performance, and "Good Old New York" and "Swingin' The Elks" are marvellous tracks - listen to how Morton's piano drives along the whole band in the first, and the trumpet and sax solos in the second. Red Allen, Albert Nicholas, Welman Braud and Zutty Singleton knew and understood Morton's music. Although Morton subsequently complained that the band had insufficient rehersal time, these are still recordings well worth hearing.This is a high quality re-issue: the sound is excellent, and the notes by Butch Thompson are outstanding. All lovers of Jelly Roll Morton should have this disc, and anyone who doubts Morton's genius as a solo or band pianist should listen to what he does here."
A treasury in the history of jazz piano playing
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | BESANCON France | 08/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"How could a Jelly Roll Morton piano solo session receive less than five stars?Like Duke,Monk,Earl Hines,James P.,he was one of the most talented pianists and composers in the jazz history.The first part of this cd consist in a complete solo session by Mr Ferdinand Joseph LaMenthe (1885-1941),a creole from New Orleans who proclaimed himself as the inventor of jazz,blues and stomp;megalomaniac,irritable,insufferable for those who worked with him,Sweet Papa Jelly Roll is truly one of jazz greatest geniuses.These sessions,recorded one year after the marathon-like "Library of Congress" recordings,are among his best,mostly for the solos.He excells playing ragtime ("sporting house rag",a tune he recorded in 1924 under the title "perfect rag",an exceptionnal version of Joplin's "original rags",maybe the most beautiful with Paul Lingle's version,a magnificent spanish-tinged tune called "the crave","the naked dance",a tune he used to play in the whorehouses,and "King Porter stomp",a masterpiece),and he excelles too playing blues ("Michigan water blues","don't you leave me here",the poignant "winin' boy blues",and another masterpiece,as Mr Tutt said,"Mamie's blues",which was recorded in 1940 by Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet under the title "2:19 blues").The second part of the cd,the band sessions,were recorded in 1940.The personnel is absolutely superlative:Red Allen,Albert Nicholas,Wellman Braud,Zutty Singleton,Claude Jones.Again,a bunch of masterpieces: the rare "sweet substitue"(listen to Sammy Price and Leon Redbone's versions),"Why"(another beautifully melancholic tune),"big lip blues"(listen to Jelly Roll saying "I'm gettin' drunk" in the middle of the tune),and "if you knew".Maybe Sweet Papa Jelly Roll wasn't the inventor of jazz,blues and stomp,surely he was a lyer and a mythomaniac,but clearly he was one of jazz most important figures,an immense pianist,composer,and a great singer,and I'm sure you'll enjoy these last recordings."
We Are So Fortunate
Arnold Day | Wayne, NJ United States | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What can one really add to the previous excellent reviews? So many great jazzmen died so young....Bix, Teschemacher, Fats, Parker, and "Jelly". How fortunate we are to have these final superb recordings by this flawed but incredible person.The audio quality is excellent, so we are able to hear how his early recordings of some of his most well-known pieces should have sounded. Although in poor health at the time of these recordings, his playing is as exciting and inventive as ever. Truly one of jazz's giants."