Matching their excellent remastering job on many early Louis Armstrong sides, JSP's fine series of late-'20s Jelly Roll Morton titles surpasses the more popular, but seriously flawed RCA discs covering the same material. Previously obscured sound evidence placing Morton as one of the first and finest composers in jazz is made clear here on Jelly Roll Morton, Vol. 1. Classics like "Black Bottom Stomp," "Grandpa's Spells," "Sidewalk Blues," and "Pearls" shine through, revealing wry arrangements, fluidly swinging solos, and a masterful distillation of New Orleans polyphony. Morton is supported throughout by his excellent Red Hot Peppers band, which collectively included fellow New Orleans stars like cornet player George Mitchell and clarinetist Omer Simeon, as well as Louis Armstrong's Hot Sevens bandmates trombonist Kid Ory, clarinetist Johnny Dodds, and drummer Baby Dodds. Morton avails himself as well, with a masterful piano mix of high-end ragtime and a wealth of sophisticated rhythms. A must for all fans of jazz.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook
feat: King Oliver