1995 32¢ Jelly Roll Morton
Issue Date: September 16, 1995
City: Monterey, CA
Printed By: Sterling Sommers for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11.1 x 11
Jelly Roll Morton was born Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe Morton in Gulfport, Louisiana on September 20, 1885. He began studying guitar at seven, and piano at nine. Within a few years he was playing piano professionally in brothels around New Orleans. Later Morton began traveling; he was heard in Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and California.
Morton made his first recording in 1923. From 1926 to 1930 he recorded his definitive works with Morton’s Red Hot Peppers. This band included Kid Ory, Johnny and Baby Dodds, Omer Simeon, and many other notable musicians. Morton enjoyed his greatest success as a performer during the late 1920s. But by 1937 his fame had declined. In 1939 he returned to recording and made a partial comeback.
Jelly Roll Morton’s career is very well documented – and controversial. Some of this debate was spawned by Morton’s own bragging. He once made the lofty claim to have “invented jazz in 1902.” Most authorities agree that Morton made important contributions to jazz as a composer, arranger, pianist, soloist, and bandleader. The songs “King Porter Stomp,” “Kansas City Stomp,” and “Dead Man Blues” are among the most popular of his more than 150 jazz classics.