Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton, Vol. 5

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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden

Jelly Roll Morton recorded frequently for Victor between 1926 and 1930. The five individual volumes issued by the British label JSP include many valuable alternate takes, at the price of omitting the pianist's final sessions from 1939. The fifth volume, like the earlier four, was re-mastered by the brilliant audio engineer John R.T. Davies, who used excellent original source materials and then improved upon their sound without filtering out the higher frequencies in the process. Morton proves himself in a trio setting with clarinetist Omer Simeon and drummer Tommy Benford that an added tuba or bass is hardly needed. His two piano solos, "Seattle Hunch" and the challenging rag "Freakish," are also highlights. "Burning the Iceberg" is full of excitement but comes off as under-rehearsed, no wonder it was originally rejected by Victor. There are also several selections with Morton fronting Luis Russell's orchestra, notable especially for the presence of the dynamic trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen. Although many of the selections on this volume are alternate or rejected takes, all of them will be of interest to fans of Jelly Roll Morton.

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