[Dixielandjazz] Re: Doctor Jazz - Jelly Roll Morton.

Bill Haesler bhaesler@nsw.bigpond.net.au
Sat, 28 Sep 2002 11:26:31 +1000

Dear John,
I must agree with you.
The lyrics do not point to drugs, apart from jazz being addictive.
I also think it is tenuous to connect JRM with authorship of the song, just
because he was the first to record it (16 Dec 1926).
It was copyrighted in Chicago on 8 January 1927 from published music. Words by
Walter Melrose, music by Joseph Oliver. Published by Melrose Brothers Music
Publishing Company, Inc.
I have yet to find when exactly, but the Victor record was not released until
about Feb- March 1927.
King Oliver and His Dixie Syncopators recorded the title in Chicago on 22 April
1927. It was scheduled for issue on Vocalion 1113 but never released. There is
no vocal.
Swaggie (JCS-110) was the first ever to issue it (from a test pressing) in the
early 1960s. (I was involved and wrote the notes.) When MCA wanted to issue it
on an Oliver LP reissue, they had to ask Swaggie for a copy!  
King Oliver and His Dixie Syncopators recorded the title again in New York on 15
July 1927. It was never released.
On the original Victor pressings (20415) is was titled DOCTOR JAZZ-STOMP (Joe
Later pressings omitted the hyphen.
The Melrose brothers (Walter and Lester) published most of the Oliver and Morton
tunes at this time.
Their younger brother Frank, was a pianist, in the Morton style, who recorded
quite a few times and was killed in suspicious circumstances in Sept 1941 at the
age of 34. 
Oliver and Morton were close mates, and had recorded together in Dec 1924 .
Maybe Walter Melrose purloined the lyrics from Jelly. Maybe. However, I think
Jelly would have said something during the Library of Congress interviews.
Kind regards,
PS: The Melrose brothers, also published "Wildman Blues" with composer credit
given to Morton-Armstrong. 
Louis never knew why he was given this honour as, although he recorded the tune
several times in 1927, he claims not to have met Morton until the 1930s!
My theory has always been that the Armstrong responsible was Miss Lil, who
certainly knew Morton in the mid 1920s.
In fact (as we have discussed on this list before), Miss Lil was responsible for
many of the tunes given on Oliver/Armstrong classic records as 'Armstrong'.