Jelly Roll Morton: The Pearls


The Pearls



Jelly Roll Morton 1938, 1940
(LP only: Alamac QSR 2424)


Jelly Roll Morton (piano).

Composed by Jelly Roll Morton


Recorded: Baltimore, ca. August 1938


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Morton remarked on one occasion that “The Pearls” was one of the most difficult of his numbers to perform, and said that its various strains were carefully matched like pearls and strung together to make the perfect necklace. Like the New Orleans polyphonic tradition itself, “The Pearls,” taken as a whole, is greater than the sum of its parts, estimable as they may be. At a running time of nearly five minutes, this rendition of “The Pearls” is contemplative, and laid out with a jeweler’s precision.

Note: Although the music has been assigned a rating of 95, the sound performance is poor on this out-of-print vinyl release, and scores only a 75.

Reviewer: Rob Bamberger

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