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Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe
(October 20th 1885 (1890?) - July 10th 1941)


Recorded in Washington D.C. in 1938 for the Library of Congress featuring Jelly Roll Morton at the piano.

Seated at an old piano in Coolidge Auditorium the legendary figure of jazz piano is captured for the annuls of history on makeshift recordings produced by Alan Lomax. During this period Morton had fallen upon hard times and was playing at a local bar called the "Music Box". The establishment failed to prove successful partially due to an owner who allowed her friends free drinks and admission. Lomax invited Jelly to cut some sides for the Library of Congress in May of that year but at the time neither man could possibly foresee the grand scope of the project.

(Originally intended to be only a brief historical interview the Library of congress sessions soon took on a life of their own and would fill more than one-hundred sides.)

Born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe in Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans in 1885 or 1890 as a child he showed a keen interest in music. He started out on the guitar, but by age fourteen Ferdinand began playing piano in the sporting houses of the city's notorious Storyville district.

Sometime during his adolescence his parents separated and his mother married a man named Mouton, which Ferd later adapted to Morton.

Spending his formative years in New Orleans would transform Ferd Morton into a World class pianist, composer, and bandleader whose musical career paralleled the stylistic transition from ragtime to jazz.

The pianist traveled extensively having worked and lived in both Chicago and California for long periods
well before 1920.

Often criticized during his later years for claiming to have invented jazz in 1902, this seemingly outrageous statement would turnout to be far more truth than fiction. -Jelly Roll Morton was after all the first and arguably the all time greatest true composer of jazz.

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