The Complete Morton Project is chugging along into spring here and we’ve brought out the bass saxophone again for one of Jelly’s earliest tunes, “New Orleans Blues.” It’s another example of the way in which Morton took the blues form and created a composition with it, full of interesting and distinctive variations and a nice jam-out at the end. This is another of his “Spanish Tinge” pieces, his term for the habanera-inspired left hand groove that was integral to his conception of jazz rhythm and, indeed, is the framework for what we would now think of as New Orleans groove music. In the Library of Congress interview, he makes very careful mention of one of his teachers, Frank Richards, who helped him assemble the bits of this tune together. He repeats his name three times so it won’t be forgotten by history so I’m making sure to mention it as well. Frank Richards! OK, here we go:
Secondly, we have “Shake It”, a late band piece which was clearly just a quick “written on the back of a napkin” type tune probably created in the studio with his 1940 band on General Records, his last band recording session. Not much to this one, but a fun little jam anyway!
Stay tuned for more as ever at the YouTube channel!
I guess it’s hard to play lyrical lines on a bass sax!
And Shake It… Not the most sophisticated piece of Morton but doesn’t it swing? It’s hard to stop your feet tapping to that number. Simple but a compelling piece of music played beautifully by you two.