Jelly Roll Morton: Scat Song

Track

Scat Song

Artist

Jelly Roll Morton (piano, vocals)

CD

Anamule Dance (Rounder 1092)

Buy Track

Musicians:

Jelly Roll Morton (piano, vocals),

Alan Lomax, interviewer

.

Composed by Jelly Roll Morton

.

Recorded: Washington, DC, May 23-June 7, 1938

Jelly_roll_morton--anamule_dance

Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Scat singing was not born when Louis Armstrong dropped the sheet music during a recording of “Heebie Jeebies”. Although Armstrong perpetuated the myth, he well knew that scat had been around almost as long as jazz itself. Jelly Roll Morton may have been the first person to set the record straight, and in his recorded reminiscences for the Library of Congress, he credits Joe Simms, “an old comedian” from Vicksburg, Mississippi, as the first person to scat sing. Morton’s most interesting claim comes right before his charming demonstration: in its original use, scat was not used for extended solos, but merely as a unique introduction for a song. We may never know how much Simms and how much Morton there is in the 1938 re-creation heard here, but the simple syncopations, light New Orleans swing and delightful “scoodle-ee-doo” syllables give us a good idea of the origins of scat.

(The MP3 link above is not from the Anamule Dance CD, which only includes the musical demonstration. Instead, the linked recording is from Morton’s The Complete Library of Congress Recordings–also from Rounder—which includes the spoken introduction. The recording begins with the final section of the Morton composition “Anamule Dance” and segues into the discussion of scat at 2:35.)

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

If you liked this track, also check out

Jelly Roll Morton: Michigan Water Blues
Jelly Roll Morton: Grandpa's Spells
Jelly Roll Morton: New Orleans Blues (The Spanish Tinge)

Related Articles

A History of New Orleans Music in 100 Tracks edited by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: Twelve Essential Jelly Roll Morton Tracks by Rob Bamberger
Jelly Roll Morton by David Tenenholtz



Tags: · · ·


Comments are closed.