Kansas City Stomp
Posted in Honey on 02.10.06

The Grammy’s are such an old man’s event – but they did managed to knock the “reissue/historical” category out of the park, giving the award to the wonderful Complete Library of Congress Recordings of Jelly Roll Morton by Alan Lomax. The box is a wonder to look at, shaped like a piano that opens to reveal the 8 discs held in two slim sleeves, the full legth biography Mister Jelly Roll by Lomax and then another 80 page linear notes detailing the recording sessions. The last disc also has a .pdf file with transcriptions of Alan Lomax’s notes. It’s big and pricey, but it’s a essential part of any jazz/blues collection.

The structure of the recordings are Lomax interviewing Morton at a piano and he responds and plays musics and explains jazz and the world as he sees it. Here is Morton explaining the song Kansas City Stomp and the difference between a break and swinging.

Jelly Roll Morton – Jazz Discords and Story of Kansas City Stomp
Jelly Roll Morton – Kansas City Stomp, continued


2 Comments so far
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By bopst on 02.11.06 1:44 am

I wonder what he went to jail for…

By montgomery on 03.07.06 4:20 pm

It’s really great to have all of this material finally, especially the interviews. I think the box is a big bulky mess though. It’s aesthetically revolting, twice as big as it needs to be (literally half the box is empty), and I really think the PDF stuff should have been included as a book. But the worst thing is that the sound is really really bad. Rounder’s releases, as great as many of them are, have always had shaky “remastering,” as they place more emphasis on filtering out surface noise than on preserving the music. Of course, Lomax’s original acetates are of poor quality, but even Rounder’s previous releases of this material (sans interviews) was better than this. This is one of the worst-sounding reissues of pre-war music I’ve heard in many years (not including JSPs). They’ve really tried to clean up the imperfections, but the content itself pays the price. The sound is so flat and tinny that it’s piercing and shrill to listen to. I’ve honestly never heard these recordings sound so bad.
That said, essential for Morton and pre-war jazz fans.

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