Complete Morton #3 – Fickle Fay Creep / Bert Williams

It’s week three of the complete Jelly Roll Morton composition project (full info), and we have two diverse pieces from Morton’s pen today.  The first is “Fickle Fay Creep,” a very cool bluesy tune which was recorded by Morton’s Red Hot Peppers in 1930, and then later in the Library of Congress interview in 1938 in a slightly different arrangement.  It’s an interesting and unusual tune for Morton, one of only a few with an extended one chord section in the middle, uncharacteristic for a composer whose tunes are generally more harmonically complex than many of his contemporaries.  Anyway, David and I have made a new arrangement of the tune taking elements from both recordings:

And secondly, a tune Morton wrote early in his life but only recorded in the 1938 extended Library of Congress interview, dedicated to the great Bahamian comedian Bert Williams, who heard Morton play the piece around 1911 and enjoyed it.  Incidentally, Duke Ellington also wrote a piece in tribute to Williams, one of the preeminent African-American entertainers of his day.  This is a typical three section Morton piece with a lot of riff melodies based on short phrases repeated over different chords.  Definitely one of the less played of Morton’s tunes, David decided to bring out the alto sax for this one for a bit of variety.  Hope you enjoy!

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