100 great jazz albums on the wall . . . 100 great jazz al-bums . . . take one down and pass it around. . . .
A tisket, a tasket, some Jazz@Rochester listings for your Easter basket...

You don't know where you're going without knowing where you've been . . . the roots of jazz on Jazz Roots

Greetings from Chicago (I'm still here following a conference of lawyer geeks), where some of those roots may be found, but for Tom Morgan and many others, the deepest roots are of course found in New Orleans. Some of those roots were transplanted to the Windy City when King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and others came up here from NOLA. Morgan has produced sites that focus on the early years of jazz music, from 1895 to the 1920s and the foundation of this music in the culture and history of African-Americans. Morgan is a writer and radio producer, who hosts (at least at the time he did the site) the New Orleans Music Show on the legendary WWOZ-FM in New Orleans.

Morgan's Jass.com (yes, with "s", it's the spelling found in the earliest jazz history) is clearly a labor of love, providing links and explanation of the early days of jazz music, which he describes thusly:

As a musical language of communication, jazz is the first indigenous American style to affect music in the rest of the World. Brass Band From the beat of ragtime syncopation and driving brass bands to soaring gospel choirs mixed with field hollers and the deep down growl of the blues, jazz's many roots are celebrated almost everywhere in the United States.

While my tastes run to jazz recorded in the last 50 years, I can't help loving the music from this early era of jazz. Its bubbling sense of joy belies the prejudice and struggle that many who played it found in their lives. It's powerful in that way, not nostalgic. All music should be considered within its own context and time. It may not be on my turntable all the time, but from time to time, I just need that sound of jasssssss. It is the first site added to my "Jazz History" category.

This post was originally published on JazzRochester. © Gregory V. Bell. All rights reserved.


Thanks for the kind words! My Jazz Roots Show and my New Orleans Music Shows can be heard on WWOZ every week. I grew up listening to Jazz on WHAM late night coming out of Rochester when I was growing up in NE PA.

Great site, great music and very nice post, indeed, my dear.

But "thusly?" Ouch!!!! Perhaps you HAVE been hanging out with those lawyers a little too much... ;)

I was introduced to jazz during the winter of 1977/78 by listening to WHAM on my little transistor radio long after I was supposed to be asleep. Most of my early jazz collection was based on the records spun by a DJ named Harry Wild, if I recall. I have incredibly fond memories of lying under the covers on snowy winter nights listening to Buddy Rich, Don Ellis, Art Farmer, Sonny Rollins and so many more on "fifty-thousand watts clear channel from Rochester New York." Is there any site on the web where I can find an archive of some of those old Wild sessions? It would be such a kick to listen to those again.

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