Chapter

L. A. Jelly, 1917–1923

Phil Pastras

in Dead Man Blues

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780520215238
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929739 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520215238.003.0003
L. A. Jelly, 1917–1923

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The story of Jelly Roll Morton's odyssey is set against the historical backdrop of the Great Migration. He did not simply get on the bandstand and play music. Instead, he was often responsible for staging a floor show with dancers, singers, comedians, and the like. His relationship with the Spikes brothers seems to have been a combination of friendly rivalry and business partnership. His notorious temperament may have cost him some work. It is believed that playing the part of Morton's wife must have been very stressful. The year 1919 marks the point when Spikes turned decisively to music as business. Several of Morton's compositions were attributed to Spikes-Morton-Spikes. The thematic material of “Dead Man Blues” provides some clues to “London Blues.” Jelly's West Coast years mark a crucial period of transition in his life and work.

Keywords: Jelly Roll Morton; Spikes brothers; West Coast; Dead Man Blues; London Blues

Chapter.  27114 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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