This week’s Complete Morton Project selections with David Horniblow kick off with “Milenberg Joys,” an interesting early Morton tune, apparently partially based on another tune of his called “Golden Leaf Strut.” This tune was listed as being composed by Morton and two members of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Leon Rappolo and Paul Mares…but then again many people added their names to various compositions over the years to get copyright royalties (Morton himself being not immune to this practice!). This one was recorded by Morton sitting in with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, a prominent early white band, in 1923 on Gennett Records, during the same 2-day period that Morton recorded his first solo sides for the same label. It’s an early example of a multiracial jazz recording, although Morton as a proud French creole would have considered himself more “white” than “black,” a nuance lost on early 20th century racist policy in the US. At any rate, it’s a great tune with some wonderful composed breaks, originally titled after Milneberg, a popular lakefront retreat at the end of an early pioneering railway line from New Orleans (interesting info here!). The NORK recording is at a very nice bluesy slow tempo, very much in contrast to the rapid speed at which it’s usually played today. We’ve taken that recording as the inspiration for our slower version:
Secondly, another of the multitudinous 1929-30 New York band sides, “Each Day.” The more of these we do, the more it seems that Jelly had a pretty foolproof formula that he used, clearly in a situation without very much rehearsal time or, for that matter, with musicians who could play his more complex arrangements very well. Nonetheless, the formula works, and this one has a particularly happy vibe. Hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube Channel!