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1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Ahmet Ertegun
  • Category:
    Early Influences
Inductee Jelly Roll Morton

A true giant of jazz.

He did not, as he claimed, invent jazz, but there’s no denying that he was a major influence on the genre. Jelly Roll Morton was a master composer, arranger and pianist who blended genres in an early form of jazz.

Hall of Fame Essay


David McGee

Jelly Roll Morton in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? 

The man who invented jazz? 

On the surface, it may seem a stretch; on closer inspection, it’s an entirely appropriate honor. A music that has  always borrowed liberally from other streams in its ongoing evolu­tion would and should embrace as one of its own  an artist imbued with the sensibility that bespeaks great art in general, rock & roll in specific: a zeal for adventure, disdain of the status quo, an innate drive to push the boundaries of convention until the artist breaks on through to the other side with something so new and brazen it’s virtually indefinable -but talismanic to all the daring souls courageous enough to follow the same path. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 1998
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Jelly Roll Morton_quote

if anybody invented jazz it was Jelly Roll Morton.

Ahmet Ertegun

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