KANSAS CITY STOMP is part of Rounder Records' 4-disc Jelly Roll Morton retrospective. These reissues are in their complete, uncensored form. In addition, the pitch problems which existed in the original recordings have been corrected.
One of the most important figures in early jazz, Jelly Roll Morton helped move the fledgling form forward during the 1920s with his energetic compositions, deft piano playing, and colorful personality. (As with bluesman Robert Johnson, many of the stories about Morton's itinerant life have been exaggerated to the point of legend.) Although Morton's heyday had long passed when musicologist Alan Lomax recorded these tracks in the late '30s for the Library of Congress, the collection presents the New Orleans-born performer in surprisingly fine form, taking on some of his most well-known tunes, including the lively "King Porter Stomp" and multiple versions of the careening "Maple Leaf Rag." In addition to his work on the eighty-eights, Morton sings on a few numbers and offers up occasional commentary about his compositions. The result is an important document that bridges ragtime and jazz, making it essential for listeners interested in the history of both styles.