Fred Hersch
November 27, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Salute to Jelly Roll Morton

Current Status
In Season
musical, Documentary

We gave it a B+

Whether or not Ferdinand ”Jelly Roll” Morton ”invented jazz,” as he claimed, he was surely the first great composer of America’s most passionately elegant form of native music. Salute to Jelly Roll Morton is a nicely balanced one-hour sampling of Morton’s rich legacy, performed live in New Orleans’ French Quarter by the Dukes of Dixieland and interspersed with minimal biographical footage. The sextet plays with an exquisite combination of enthusiastic abandon and reverence for Morton’s intricate material. Highlights: Tom McDermott’s dazzling solo piano rendition of Morton’s appropriately titled ”Fingerbreaker,” and special guest Danny Barker delivering some of Morton’s bawdier songs with a marvelously wry delivery. B+

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