Jelly Roll Morton

Pioneer of Jazz 1923-1939

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This collection of Jelly Roll Morton classics is exactly that: the prime cuts from his later years (many of his performances after 1929 were spotty, at best). Jazz journalist Scott Yanow compiled this set for Allegro and writes an essay that perfectly describes the settings in which Morton found himself for these sessions. While the liner notes are well done and complete lineup information (this was an era in which Morton played with everyone from Kid Ory and Barney Bigard to Albert Nicholas and Ward Pinkett) is given in the track listing, one sore point of this reissue is that nowhere on the collection is label information presented. Morton re-recorded material often and it would be helpful to know from which label these versions of "Black Bottom Stomp" or "Dead Man Blues" or "Buddy Bolden Blues" appeared. As for fidelity, there are better collections (such as the Contemporary Classics series), but there is no single-disc collection like this anywhere else. This is a unique compilation of stellar performances for a decent price, a good beginning for the uninitiated (although the RCA material might serve better), and a hits set for the fan that has everything but something like this.

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