[Dixielandjazz] Dr. Jazz & Jelly Roll

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet@earthlink.net
Thu, 26 Sep 2002 15:29:46 -0400

Dave Richoux wrote:

"If you assign the character of "Dr. Jazz" to another well known jazz
Jelly Roll Morton, it all becomes cleared to me an the sex vs. drugs
issue. In
"Popular Jazz Mythology 101" (you know, he knows, everybody knows... it
must be
true! ;-)  JRM was pretty well assumed to be a pimp at some time or
other - also a
pool hall hustler and race track tout - but I have not found anything
about drugs
yet in JRM's biographies.  Also, Dr. Jazz was apparently the first vocal
he ever
recorded so it must have been special to him."

Dave has jogged my memory, There is, in one of Jelly's quotations
something like the following when talking about the prostitutes in the
whorehouses where he worked prior to 1917. "Some of them were ladies in
spite of their fallen status and some were dope fiends, opium, heroin,
cocaine and so on. I was often sent to Chinatown with a sealed envelope
and some money to bring back 'hop' (opium)."

If he was Dr. Jazz, and with Walter Melrose the lyricist for the song
"Dr Jazz" in December 1926 when he sang the song, it is quite logical to
see the words as relating to his earlier stated experiences as a dope
delivery boy, whether those experiences were real or just braggadocio.
Now, I shall try and find the exact JRM quote, unless Dave can come up
with it.

As I recall, I used that logic in my term paper about it 50 years ago.

Steve Barbone