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The Preoccupations of Mr. Lomax, Inventor of the “Inventor of Jazz”

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Since its publication in 1950, Alan Lomax's book Mister Jelly Roll, based on his 1926 interviews of Morton for the Library of Congress, has been a crucial source for jazz scholars. By comparing Lomax's book to the complete recordings and transcript released in 2005, this paper examines the ways Lomax imposed his own agenda on Mister Jelly Roll. Motivated by his convictions about jazz, authenticity and the commercial recording industry, Lomax created a biased and sometimes inaccurate profile of Morton that has influenced public opinion and scholarship to this day.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-02-01

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