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Ferdinand Joseph Jelly Roll Morton LaMenthe was born in New Orleans Louisiana on October 20 1890 As a child he began to learn how to play the piano at age 10 years old He was taught by Tony Jackson composer of songs like Pretty Boy and other hits Tony Jackson is among the few musicians whom Morton admired and respected He called Jackson the greatest single-handed entertainers in the world After the death of his mother Morton began playing in whorehouses and in the bordellos of the Storyville district of New Orleans There he became active as a gambler pool shark and a lot of things that caused his grandmother to throw him out of the house as a bum and a scalawag She did not want him around his two little sisters As a wanderer and during the fair of 1904 he began traveling such cities as Chicago Los Angeles St Louis and Denver playing with various musical organizations as an in demand musician but he could never stay long with one band He couldnt stay long in one band too long because he was too eccentric and too temperamental and he was a one-man band himself said by bandleader George Morrison whom Morton played for in Denver Morton really wanted to be the extreme musician After that he toured the south in a minstrel show for about a year and a half In a bar in St Louis where pianist hung out Morton had to prove his prowness by playing and reading music pieces set before him In 1912 Morton briefly settled in Chicagos South Side where he published his first number The Jelly Roll Blues which was brought out by William Rossiter He traveled with this piece as far as New York and as far west as California where he performed with the Spike Brother as well as fronting his own bands During these years of travel Morton apparently fused a variety
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