This week in the Complete Morton Project, David and I return to a great trio session that Morton recorded with Barney Bigard (Duke Ellington’s main clarinetist) and Zutty Singleton on drums (of Louis Armstrong’s bands and many others). This session from 1929 produced 4 sides, two of which were written by Jelly. We’ve already posted Turtle Twist, and today we’re starting off with “That’s Like It Ought To Be.” David liked Bigard’s playing so much on this one that he’s played the transcription for you, and it’s a masterpiece of 1920s clarinet playing – really quirky and unusual lines snaking in and out of the chords in an amazing way that really shows one of the many facets of jazz clarinet that got smoothed out and lost in the transition from stomp to swing in the 1930s:
Secondly, we have one of the last band tracks Morton recorded in 1930 before his long recording hiatus of 8 years. He had fallen out of favor with the swing era audiences, and with many New York musicians, and had to assemble increasingly shaky bands until Victor Records eventually dropped him from their recording roster. This tune, “Gambling Jack”, isn’t a compositional masterpiece but it’s a nice stomp with a very simple and very New Orleans type of chord progression and it gave us the chance to just play a bit without worrying about the arrangement for a change!
Stay tuned for more tunes and more amazing shirts from David (I gotta go to the store…)