posted by Seán Collins on 14 Sept 2013
September 15 marks a milestone in jazz.
In 1915, "The 'Jelly Roll' Blues" was published by one Ferd Morton, a guy just about everyone knows as Jelly Roll. It was the first time somebody published a piece of jazz music, and it went to prove that a music whose very soul is improvisation can survive notation.
You can publish and not perish, in other words.
Morton's piano playing was born of ragtime and he often played the melody with the thumb of his right hand, allowing him to play harmonies above the melody as well as below it, with his left.
Here are two recordings of the song. The first is a solo piano recording of Morton, and probably dates to 1915.
Jelly Roll Blues - piano
And this second recording, featuring Morton's band 'The Red Hot Peppers,' dates to 1924.
Jelly Roll Blues - Red Hot Peppers