Jelly Roll Morton Piano Rolls [Elektra]
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- Released: May 27, 1997
- Originally Released: 1997
- Label: Nonesuch
JazzTimes - 10/97, pp.91-92"For the first time since their initial appearance in 1923, Jelly Roll Morton's piano rolls can now be heard in a manner far more closely reflective of real performance sound....those familiar with the limitations of piano rolls...will be amazed..."
- 1.Midnight Mama
- 2.Shreveport Stomps
- 3.Stratford Hunch
- 4.Dead Man Blues
- 5.Grandpa's Spells
- 6.Tin Roof Blues
- 7.London Blues
- 8.King Porter Stomp
- 9.Sweet Man
- 10.Original Jelly Roll Blues
- 11.Mr. Jelly-Lord
- 12.Tom Cat Blues
THE PIANO ROLLS contains music played by special computerized interpretation, overseen by Artis Wodehouse, of original player-piano rolls recorded by Jelly Roll Morton.
Recorded at the American Academy of Arts & Letters, New York, New York on February 22-23, 1997. Includes liner notes by Stanley Crouch and Artis Wodehouse.
Personnel: Jelly Roll Morton (piano).
Liner Note Authors: Artis Wodehouse; Stanley Crouch.
Recording information: American Academy Of Arts And Letters, New York, NY (09/1924-12/1924).
Piano rolls generally sound rather wooden, with square rhythms and a honky tonk feel; the displays of virtuosity are sometimes are impossible for one pianist to perform due to excessive hole punching. Jelly Roll Morton's 11 piano rolls of 1924 (which had previously been put out on LP by Biograph and Everest) often had more life than others of the period, but still sounded a bit mechanical. Using modern techniques during 1996-1997 (including the Yamaha Disklavier), producer Artis Wodehouse was able to make Morton's piano rolls sound much more alive than they had previously for this CD. The interpretations almost pass for '20s piano recordings, and Morton's feel comes across better than in previous versions of the rolls. Of the 11 selections, it is possible that "Sweet Man" was not performed by Morton (although his name was on the original), for the style sounds a bit different. But the other numbers (highlighted by "Shreveport Stomps," "Grandpa's Spells," "King Porter Stomp" and "Mr. Jelly Lord") definitely bring back the spirit of Jelly Roll Morton. ~ Scott Yanow
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