Friday, July 23, 2010

Till The Butcher Cut Him Down

Today's one of those long, melancholic days. I'm listening to Jelly Roll Morton's last recordings and going through Alan Lomax'es notes, while the poet/pianist is singing:

"He rambled.
He rambled,
He rambled till the butcher cut him down, .. ."

AUGUST 1, 1941

Los Angeles A solemn, high requiem mass, performed at St. Patrick's Church with the full dignity of the Roman Catholic ritual, followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery was the world's parting gesture to Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton, who died here at Los Angeles hospital July 10 of heart trouble and asthma.

One white man was among the approximately one hundred and fifty people who attended the church service and accompanied the funeral procession to the cemetery - Dave Stuart of the Jazz Man Record Shop.


Notably absent from the funeral of the man who did so much to bring jazz out of the honkey tonks and dives of New Orleans were two o the most successful black bandleaders of the days Duke Ellington and Jimmie Lunceford. Ellington is appearing at the Mayan Theatre here in a stage revue and Lunceford is at the Casa Manana.

Among those present were the members of what was probably the first black jazz band to make phonograph recordings - pioneers of jazz saying goodbye to one of their valiant gang musicians who played from the heart because they never learned any other way to play.

Reb Spikes, Jelly's old song-writing partner, didn't have a car and almost didn't get to the cemetery. Dave Stuart saw that Reb was about to get left behind and took him out in his car,"Sure appreciated that," said Reb. "Wanted to go as far as I could with Jelly."

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