This post has nothing to do with New Orleans Cuisine, but a lot to do with New Orleans. Jelly Roll Morton came up as a musician in the brothels and clubs of "the district" on Basin Street, or Storyville. He is known to most people as a braggart, a pimp, a pool shark, and head cutter on the piano. He was a character, you can be sure of that, but first and foremost he was a musician.
I just finished a book about Jelly Roll Morton called Jelly's Blues: The Life, Music, And Redemption Of Jelly Roll Morton
. A very sad story. A very familiar
, sad story, of an unbelievably talented black musician who gave everything to his music, trusted some white business men, got screwed in a big way, died penniless and unhappy. We all know this story. I get sick everytime I hear it. This one was really sad to me. One of the originators of Jazz, everyone was playing his songs during his lifetime! Screwed on his royalties; his due, and worse than that, no one wanted him. He had so much music to give. His career took, what the book rightly called a "Free Fall". He was no saint, for sure, but a pioneer, and all he really wanted was his due. Some recognition. He never even got a jazz funeral, his band mates weren't even allowed to blow at his graveside. I was reading this, getting sick, then I turned on MTV, Ashley Simpson's show was on. Talentless, over privileged girl, getting far more than she is worth, simply because she fits a mold. No contribution to the music world, ZERO. But getting paid, very, very, well. If you love music, read this book. I'm going to go now, so I can steal some of Jelly Roll's music, via MP3, back from the record companies.