Jelly Roll MortonMusician
A “creole” from New Orleans, of mixed French and African descent, pianist Ferdinande De Menthe played in salons and bordellos in the notorious “Storyville” district of New Orleans, where he took on the professional nickname “Jelly Roll Morton.” Morton played in a style characteristic of New Orleans, with a very strongly pronounced influence from Cuba and the Caribbean. Morton is also credited as the first to make his own arrangements of jazz tunes. Morton was largely forgotten after WWI, until he was “rediscovered” by folklorist Alan Lomax. Morton then made various hyperbolic claims to have “invented” jazz, which he claimed was the mix of ragtime and “the Spanish tinge.” His work helped to shape the evolution of jazz music and reflects early transnational influences in New Orleans' music scene.