Complete Morton #5 – Big Fat Ham / Deep Creek

This week’s selections for the Complete Morton Project are “Big Fat Ham” and “Deep Creek,” representing two very different aspects of Morton’s compositional output.  “Big Fat Ham” is a very rocking three-strain piece in the mold of many of Jelly’s fine multi section tunes.  This one is especially fun with the cool breaks in the second strain which catch the ear off guard and really emphasize the groove when it returns in the next section.  The third strain has several Morton trademarks harmonically speaking, with the first phrase reminiscent of the famous “King Porter Stomp” progression, which he used in a number of his most famous tunes, and then a sudden D major chord which always comes as a surprise even as the strain is repeated.  It sounds really sunny and optimistic to me, though maybe it just reminded Morton of pork, based on the title…who knows!!  Anyway, it’s a fun one:

Secondly we have David back on alto for “Deep Creek,” a very simple blues recorded in 1929 with a medium sized band.  Clearly a quick composition, just a simple blues in two keys, it nevertheless has some characteristic Morton traits – a slightly atypical blues chord progression and some nice subtly arranged shout choruses at the end.  One thing is for sure, even Morton’s simpler compositions always had a touch of arrangement in them to make them stand out from regular jam session type recordings.  Hope you are enjoying the series, you can subscribe here on YouTube, and stay tuned for two Morton tunes a week all year!

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