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Jelly Roll Morton unpub waltz (fragment)

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Will Fly 15 May 11 - 05:22 PM
Smokey. 15 May 11 - 10:36 PM
Will Fly 16 May 11 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,Grishka 16 May 11 - 07:18 AM
Will Fly 16 May 11 - 07:36 AM
Smokey. 16 May 11 - 05:39 PM
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Subject: Jelly Roll Morton unpub waltz (fragment)
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 May 11 - 05:22 PM

I've been spending the weekend with an old friend in Shropshire. My friend recently bought several of the effects of the late jazz and blues author and critic Derrick Stewart-Baxter. Among them was a framed music manuscript by Jelly Roll Morton - part of a piano waltz called "Golden Wedding". As far as I know, the waltz has never been published.

I photographed the sheet, transcribed it and produced a recording of it on piano. If you're interested in seeing a JPG file of the ms., click the first link below. If you'd like to hear what it sounds like, click the second link.

Golden Wedding (fragment) - picture

Golden Wedding (fragment) - sound file

Although only a fragment, it bears many of the hallmarks of Morton in the harmonies and in the melody line - particularly in the short "B" part. Quite charming, and a shame it wasn't completed. If anyone does know of a complete version - please say.


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Subject: RE: Jelly Roll Morton unpub waltz (fragment)
From: Smokey.
Date: 15 May 11 - 10:36 PM

Thanks Mr. Fly, I'll have a stumble through that. Refreshingly simple considering most of his stuff.. Pity it's not complete though. This is the only one of his I ever managed to record, but it were 'oss work, as we say round here.


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Subject: RE: Jelly Roll Morton unpub waltz (fragment)
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 May 11 - 04:56 AM

That's a very respectable rendition of Black Bottom Stomp, Smokey - I doff my hat.

I cleaned up the handwritten dots in my transcription of the waltz - Jelly used a slightly free notation here and there - and elided the transition between the end of the B part and the beginning of the C part (where it changes from Bb to Eb).

If you'd like a PDF of the cleaned-up transcription, let me know. As you say, pity 'tis just a fragment...


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Subject: RE: Jelly Roll Morton unpub waltz (fragment)
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 16 May 11 - 07:18 AM

A nice find, Will!

The piece seems almost finished to me; repeat the last part with the last two bars changed to remodulate, then play from the beginning (Da Capo) to the middle.

There are some mistakes on the sheet (and others in your rendering; the first four bars should be repeated) - it was a sketch meant for the composer himself.

He may have played it for the golden wedding of an elderly couple he was personally acquainted to (probably not his own parents, though), whose taste was bound to be more old-fashioned (molto rubato e molto pedalato).

Most of us have compositions and/or poems in their lower drawers, created for similar purposes. Great composers burned them without mercy, alas, I am not one of those ;-).


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Subject: RE: Jelly Roll Morton unpub waltz (fragment)
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 May 11 - 07:36 AM

Bugger - in my hurry, I took the 4-bar repeat sign as a crossed-out bar! Will correct... I did this late-ish on after a long car journey.

I also thought it was probably written for someone as a golden wedding occasion piece.


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Subject: RE: Jelly Roll Morton unpub waltz (fragment)
From: Smokey.
Date: 16 May 11 - 05:39 PM

Thank you for your kind words, Will, much appreciated.

I'll PM you re. the PDF.


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