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Creepy Feeling

Jelly Roll Morton


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"Spanish Tinge"


This recording featuring, legendary New Orleans pianist Jelly Roll Morton was made in Washington, D.C. in December 1938. -For a performance of this number by Butch Thompson Click Here.

"Creepy Feeling" is among Jelly Roll Morton's lesser known pieces to be played in the Afro-Latin style which he referred to as Spanish Tinge. Jelly was the first to coin the term "Spanish Tinge" on record during his historic Library of Congress sessions held by Alan Lomax.

Morton syncopates the left hand rhythm with an accent on the up beat (second half) on the 2nd beat of the bar instead of the down beat on the 3rd as in normal two beat rhythm. It is an adaptation of the Habanera beat used on the first bar of the 3/2 Latino clave. This was commonly practiced in early tangos which are otherwise similar to ragtime. The Afro-American music tradition is a continuum with differing local variation and history. NOLA is definitely the most important center in the U.S. The Habanera beat and the Latino clave adaptation is thought to be of Haitian (African) origin and was spread to Cuba and Southern Louisiana by the refugees from the Haitian Revolution in the late 17 and early 1800s. The rhythm was also later used in the classical piano works of New Orleans born composer Louis Moreau Gottshalk around 1840. -Thomas Rådberg

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