Special Performance: Steve Pistorius & The Southern Syncopators present: Piano Professors of Storyville-Jelly Roll Morton and Tony Jackson
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Join Steve Pistorius, Orange Kellin, James Evans, and Benny Amon as they present a special matinee tribute to the great Jelly Roll Morton and Tony Jackson.
Antonio Junius Jackson, best known as Tony Jackson, pianist, singer, and composer was born to a poor African American family in Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana on October 25, 1882.
Tony showed musical talents at a young age and got his first musical job at age 13. By age 15 Jackson became the most popular and sought after entertainer in Storyville. Know as the "man of a thousand songs," he was said to be able to remember and play any tune he had heard once and was hardly ever stumped by obscure requests. His singing voice was also exceptional, and he was said to be able to sing operatic parts from baritone to soprano range.
He was Jelly Roll Morton's musical hero and evenentually served as a father figure to him. In the early 1900's they performed together in the clubs in the Storyville area of New Orleans.
Jackson never recorded, but portions of his style are no doubt to be found in the recordings of younger musicians he influenced, like Jelly Roll Morton, Clarence Williams, and Steve Lewis. He died in Chicago on April 20, 1921.
Jelly Roll Morton
Born in either 1885 or 1890, Jelly Roll Morton was the first important composer and arranger of New Orleans jazz, as well as an agile pianist, a compelling singer, and one of the early jazz world’s most flamboyant characters.
Morton came from a New Orleans Creole family who did not approve of his musical aspirations. As a teenager, Morton began playing in Storyville brothels and traveling around the South as both a bandleader and solo performer. His trademark compositions from this era include “The Animule Dance,” “King Porter Stomp,” and “Original Jelly Roll Blues.”
Although Morton did not single-handedly “invent” jazz, as he often claimed, he ranks among the important defining figures in its initial evolution. Morton’s eclectic approach consisted of a synthesis of ragtime, classical music (including opera), miscellaneous popular songs, and the blues, among other sources.
Towrds the end of his life, Morton's career flagged. He continually tried to revive it until his death on July 10, 1941. However, his compositions and contributions to the jazz repertoire have never faded.