Jelly Roll Morton: Freakish





The Jelly Roll Morton Centennial: His Complete Victor Recordings (RCA 078635236125)

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Jelly Roll Morton (piano).

Composed by Jelly Roll Morton


Recorded: Chicago, July 8, 1929


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

It is among the profoundest ironies in jazz that by the time Morton recorded titles like “Black Bottom Stomp” and “Dr. Jazz,” the New Orleans polyphonic ensemble had become an anachronism. Morton was not entirely unmindful that orchestras were getting larger and the traditional multi-strain compositions displaced by the AABA of Tin Pan Alley popular song. “Freakish” is one sign that Morton knew changes were afoot. Jim Dapogny has noted that the final strain of the piece uses a device that was “enduringly modern in conception: [Morton’s] use of repeated two-measure phrases,” which would prove to be the basis of many a jazz tune in the years to come.

Reviewer: Rob Bamberger

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