Jelly Roll Morton: Doctor Jazz - His 51 Finest 1923-1953

The Creole genius Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941) claimed to have invented jazz – and that wasn’t far from the truth! The virtuoso pianist and bandleader was indeed a pivotal figure right there at the start and is recognized as the first genuine jazz composer and one of the form’s most brilliant innovators. His written arrangements demonstrated that the improvisatory spirit of jazz could be harnessed in new, exciting ways. Retrospective’s Doctor Jazz offers a unique double-CD survey of his very finest work, from his first session in 1923 (Big Fat Ham) to his last band date in 1940 (Dirty, Dirty, Dirty). There are no fewer than 24 tracks with his Red Hot Peppers, hailed as “a triumphant fusion of composition and improvisation” (Gunther Schuller) – all-time great classics such as Black Bottom Stomp, The Chant, Grandpa’s Spells, The Pearls and, of course, Doctor Jazz. Morton was perhaps the first truly great jazz pianist, and six solo performances are featured, including Freakish, King Porter Stomp and the poignant Mamie’s Blues, one of seven distinctive Jelly Roll vocals. Others include Buddy Bolden’s Blues and Sweet Substitute. Outstanding too are trio performances with clarinettists Johnny Dodds (Wolverine Blues), Omer Simeon (Mournful Serenade) and Barney Bigard (Turtle Twist). Indeed, Jelly Roll’s musical colleagues featured here include such jazz masters as Sidney Bechet, Henry Red Allen, Albert Nicholas and many others. No jazz collection can be complete without these timeless classics from “Doctor Jazz” – “He’s got what I need, I’ll say he has”.

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