From the Record Shelves #53

If You Knew

LP Dial DPM-9056

In a time when the historical jazz recordings were not easily available I was lucky to find the rare Jelly Roll Morton Commodore sessions on an LP released in Buenos Aires.

Morton tried to come back from oblivion at this time by writing popular 32 bar songs and had a publishing company together with one of his few friends. Considering his greatness as a jazz pioneer, his capacity at the piano and that he had made some of the absolute top records within the jazz idiom it’s a tragic story. But let’s focus on the positive and listen to one of the songs he made in 1940.

The song has an original (for the thirties) chord structure and nice simple lyrics and Morton who unfortunately only recorded one vocal during his heyday in the 20s confirms here that he is a great jazz singer. Albert Nicholas with a beautiful clarinet sound and Eddie Williams on alto share the short solo space while Red Allen on trumpet is left to effectively and aggressively lead the ensemble out to a climax ending.