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11 September 2009



hell yes. the one recording of him playing it is hilarious...you can hear him sweating as the song approaches the 3 minute mark and he needs to wrap it up...it starts to rush like hell and it is AWESOME!

the gil evans version covered in the sturm book is pretty righteous as well.

Matt Rubin

I discovered my love for Jelly Roll by working backwards. We played Bob Brookmeyer's KP '94 in jazz ensemble, which led me to Fred Sturm's book, which in turn led me to the Fletcher Henderson chart and Morton's original. That D:O post is exactly right. We need more entry points into the music. The chronological approach works sometimes, but in my experience, it is more common to discover something you love, and then track it forward and back.

Incidentally, the Gil Evans arrangement of King Porter Stomp is one of my all-time favorite charts. Those two records he did on Pacific are hugely underrated.

Andrew Oliver

Thanks Darcy! Hope everyone enjoyed the post - just a note that the 1926 link is now fixed. Sorry for the delay.

More to come!



Chris Jentsch


I played the guitar (and pseudo guitar-as-banjo) parts for those Sturm book sessions and I wanted to say that sitting in the guitar chair while the band recorded the Brookmeyer King Porter (no guitar part) was a great experience, and so far the closest thing I've had to having a lesson with him.


cbj smith

I thought I remembered reading that Duke Ellington thought that Jelly Roll "played piano like a schoolmarm." I'm having trouble finding that assessment, though, so I might be wrong about that. I imagine it was Jelly Roll's big left hand, where Duke's was so light, that bugged him. Duke DID admire his writing though (and no wonder!)


Jelly Roll cut his teeth playing in brothels. His nickname comes from sexually explicit slang. His style was incredibly raw and gritty compared to the refined Harlem stride pianists that Duke modeled himself after. If Duke did say, "Jelly Roll plays piano like a schoolmarm," there's some chance he was being ironic!

Eric Shanfield

If I could just recommend giving that greatest medieval dynamic duo Leonin and Perotin another try. Amazing, amazing stuff. Viderunt Omnes, the Alleluia Nativitas: Yes. Changed my life. Steve Reich's, too, among others. Plus, they don't come in 13th century sound, they come in glorious late-20th-century sound. Try the Hilliard Ensemble doing Perotin, on ECM...

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