SO WHO KNEW?

I’ve been reading with pleasure Samuel Charters’ new expanded version of his book on New Orleans jazz, A TRUMPET AROUND THE CORNER (University Press of Mississippi).  Many wonderful anecdotes and stories – – – but this one stopped me in my tracks.

In a nice way, you understand.

In 1969, the jazz scholar William Russell spoke with Frances Oliver, the younger sister of Jelly Roll Morton.  Frances explained the family genealogy to Russell:

My brother and both I got our large Jewish noses from our great grandmother Mimi, who was a German Jew–Felice Schmidt, so, of course we’re Jewish

Learning that Louis was actually born on August 4, 1901 has nothing on this!

13 responses to “SO WHO KNEW?

  1. So what is your point? Quite a few of the world’s famous musicians are Jewish.Are we to be amazed at this revelation?

  2. Yes, Dick, I know. Max and Benny and Getz and more. But as a secular Jew who admires Jelly Roll Morton, I found this news a surprise. If you think I was making fun of either Judiasm or Morton, you are mistaken. Cordially, Michael

  3. Thank you, Michael, for all of your wonderful articles, and for clearing this up for me.
    Kind regards,
    Dick

  4. So, the Spanish Tinge was really the Hora?

  5. I found that anecdote wonderfully honest and humorous. Geneology and enthnic background has always been important to some, otherwise lets chop down all our family trees. I am not a JRM scholar, for sure. However, from my early days of discovering him and listening to most all his music I concluded he was a black man with maybe French or Spanish (Creole) ancestry mixed in there… as America is this wonderful mix of nationalities. For some reason I am overjoyed to find out grandmother Mimi was in there somewhere as well, for the nose, yes… more importantly(?)… perhaps giving Ferd the chutzpah he was known for. Great little post, MS

  6. Re-writing Jazz history is nothing new. However, an item or tidbit found on a scrap of paper, or such, in a trunk or suitcase of Bill Russell can be taken as gospel.

    Birch Smith

  7. I find this info relevant because we finally have smoking gun proof that, as the Russians invented baseball, the jews invented jazz.

    shalom,

  8. A bee gezindt, my man (spelling optional)! MS

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