Unlike most Jelly Roll Morton retrospectives, this Masters of Jazz compilation follows his every move as leader and sideman, beginning half way through the Red Hot Peppers' date of June 2, 1930, jumping to a session that took place the following day led by clarinetist Wilton Crawley, and taking in nine titles that document Morton's last two Red Hot Peppers sessions (July 14 and October 9, 1930). Morton is next heard sitting in with Wingy Manone's orchestra on three selections recorded August 15, 1934, then on an alternate take from a session led by cornetist Johnny Dunn on March 13, 1928; this rare tidbit escaped inclusion on Jelly Roll Morton Volume 4 1927-1928. The Masters of Jazz series is ideal for those who enjoy hearing multiple versions of historic old jazz records. Other less meticulously assembled compilations will work better perhaps as casual samplers. What you get here is an exhaustively complete sequential map of Jelly Roll Morton's career using all known recorded evidence, including alternate takes. For those who really love classic jazz and the spirits of the people who made it happen, this series is useful and very rewarding.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Johnny Dunn & His Band