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Jelly Roll Morton was an American pianist and songwriter best known for influencing the formation of modern day jazz during the 1920s.
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Jelly Roll Morton was an American jazz pianist and songwriter born on October 20, 1890 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He traveled nationwide performing as both a solo and small group musician. He led the Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers band in the late 1920s, where his innovative style helped to shape the genre of jazz. He released several albums prior to hitting hard times during the Great Depression, where he then fell out of the limelight. Morton died on July 10, 1941.
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With its roots in the blues, jazz has been referred to as America's classical music, yet has also become a major global phenomenon, branching off into a variety of forms. Earlier pioneers like Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton paved the way for the swinging big-band sounds of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. In contrast, contemporaries Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk developed bebop, with its speedy, dissonant harmonies and improvisations. And Miles Davis heralded the birth of cool jazz, modal jazz and fusion at different points in his career. Famous jazz instrumentalists have tended to be male, yet women have been at the forefront of the genre when it comes to vocalization, from the brassy blues of Bessie Smith to the haunting eclecticism of Nina Simone.
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