Richard Trythall | Jelly Roll Morton Piano Music

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Jazz: Ragtime Blues: Piano Blues Moods: Featuring Piano
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Jelly Roll Morton Piano Music

by Richard Trythall

Contemporary note-for-note transcriptions and performances of "Jelly Roll" Morton's classic piano solos
Genre: Jazz: Ragtime
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Finger Buster
3:02 album only
2. Freakish
3:59 album only
3. New Orleans Joys
2:50 album only
4. Shreveport Stomp
2:57 album only
5. Spanish Swat
4:30 album only
6. Perfect Rag
2:51 album only
7. Mamanita
2:49 album only
8. Grandpa's Spells
2:45 album only
9. Jungle Blues
3:44 album only
10. The Crave
3:15 album only
11. Frog-I-More Rag
2:56 album only
12. Creepy Feeling
7:08 album only
13. King Porter Stomp
2:56 album only
14. Hyena Stomp
3:34 album only
15. State and Madison
3:53 album only
16. Original Jelly Roll Blues
3:10 album only
17. Pep
3:44 album only


Album Notes
Three Reviews of CD, "Jelly Roll Morton Piano Music"

Review by Luigi Onori, Italian Jazz musicologist
Staff Writer for "Il Manifesto" (Rome, Italy newspaper)
and "Black in Radio" (Internet station), May 2002

This is a world premiere recording since, up to now, no one has dared to record 17 works by Jelly Roll Morton, transcribed note by note from the original recording.
It required the patience and mastery of the American pianist Richard Trythall, a long time resident of Rome, to take up this authentic challenge. The original stimulus came from the SISMA (Italian Society for the Study of African-American music) and its president, Marcello Piras, who commissioned a performance for inclusion in the "African-American Serious Music Festival" which took place in Pescara (Italy) for several years. Following this recital, Trythall continued to work on these demanding transcriptions and on the interpretation of a music which, even when completely notated, requires and in-depth knowledge of the composer, the epoch, the style and a series of instrumental techniques in order to achieve the brilliance, fluidity and complexity of the Morton originals.
The Creole pianist bragged that he was the father of jazz and his boast was fairly realistic: one need only hear these works to grasp the richness of language which was in Morton's music already in the 20's as well as his capacity to synthesize and elaborate a variety of music and sources of inspiration - from ragtime to blues, from the "Spanish tinge" to operatic arias. The pieces, performed brilliantly and impeccably by Trythall, are truly beautiful but, if it were necessary to select, I would advise: "Freakish", "Perfect Rag", "Spanish Swat", "Mamanita", "Jungle Blues", "King Porter Stomp" and "Original Jelly Roll Blues" without in any way detracting from the other irreproachable performances.
The CD is well recorded and enriched with a brief essay by Piras and notes written by the "bravo" American pianist to whom goes our applause for an undertaking which makes known to all - inside and outside of jazz - the gigantic stature of Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton.

Review by Wayne Bledsoe, Entertainment Writer
Knoxville News- Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee (USA)
April 28, 2002

Knoxville-born pianist/composer Richard Trythall made waves early in his career with his avant-garde tape deconstruction/aural collage of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." He followed with compositions that could be both sweet and challenging, as well as a recording of the piano music of Charles Ives.

Trythall's latest release, "Jelly Roll Morton Piano Music" (MR Classics), is a painstakingly accurate recreation of the music of one of the architects of jazz. Jelly Roll Morton (born Ferdinand Lemott), was a classically trained pianist who played music in New Orleans brothels at the age of 16. He moved to Chicago in the 1920s and won fame for his sprightly ragtime solos and, later, for his work with his band the Red Hot Peppers.

No one insisted more adamantly than Morton that he was a musical genius, but he might not have been too far off. Morton's music is absolutely gorgeous and laid down much of the foundation of jazz to follow.

Trythall, who now heads the music program at the American Academy in Rome, spent laborious hours transcribing Morton's music from the master's original recordings - often wrestling over whether a stray Morton note or nuance was accidental or the result of an imperfect piano or Morton's intent.

Trythall's resulting album sounds as if there are no mistakes. The pianist recreates Morton's sweet and playful music with a fidelity that was unavailable to the composer himself.

The music is familiar - "The King Porter Stomp" and "Jungle Blues" are among Morton's best-known works, but hearing pristine performances of the Morton's music is remarkable. Among the lesser-known joys on the disc are the complex and compelling "Frog-I-More Rag," the delicate and spooky "Creepy Feeling" and "State and Madison" - which is one of Morton's prettiest and most laid back creations.

Trythall plays all the pieces with a sensitive and loving touch. Morton's music could be in no better hands.

Review by Nicola Campogrande, commentator for RAI 3(Italian RadioTelevision)and editor of "Sistema Musica"
"Sistema Musica", issue IV n.6/2002
Cultural Magazine published by the City of Turin, Italy
Richard Trythall is a pianist (and composer) who is very curious. For years he has dedicated himself to the study of music by Jelly Roll Morton, the incomparable pianist, the musician who, at the beginning of the 20th century, so clearly delineated the rules of jazz that he could claim to have invented jazz himself. Transcriptions of Morton's pyrotechnic performances existed but were partially incorrect. Trythall has patiently re-transcribed each piece, note by note, rewriting and then recording them. The result is remarkable: it brings alive the unbridled virtuosity of Jelly Roll Morton, the nuances of his performance, the wealth of his expression as performed on a modern, scintillating piano which bursts forth from the recording energetically.



to write a review

K. Millett

Sweet Ragtime!
This is a gem of a recording, set in sterling transcriptions of Jelly Roll Morton's music. A composer as well as an excellent pianist, Richard Trythall did the laborious work of transcribing Morton's rags anew before playing the heck out of them. This disc captures great variety, from sinister to sultry, rambunctious to reflective. Trythall gets into the complexity of Morton's musical personality. One can only hope his transcriptions will be published, too.

Jennifer Hamilton Calvert

A music-lover's find -- full of sass and verve
In this faithful and inspired rendition of Jelly Roll Morton's amazing compositions, Richard Trythall has produced a sparkling life-brightener. An unexpected bonus to the CD is the colorful fold-out mural of Knoxville, Tennessee's music history. You'll recognize many of the artists.

Phillip Johnston

Wonderful conception, transcription and execution! A rich & affectionate tribute
I was delighted by this recording, a rich addition to the legacy of the great composer and pianist Jelly Roll Morton. Far from being a lifeless academic exercise, it is full of life and love and understanding of the joy, weirdness and gravitas of Morton's music. It's just so great to hear this stuff recorded well, but with all the original nuance and intent. I think J-R would dig it.


Un grande omaggio da uno strepitoso pianista
Suonare questa musica è veramente difficile!In molti passaggi è più difficile che suonare una ballata di Chopin. Richard Trythall ha una grande tecnica ed un bel tocco.Complimenti sinceri.Congratulations!

Dr. John L. Duffy, M.D.

Incredible Authenticity: you would think you were listening to Jelly Roll Himsel
Authenticity here is the name of the game! I have gone over Morton's originals & am delighted to report that with only two exceptions Trytall's version bore the same phrasing and dynamics as the 1923 originals, minus the noise. It is obvious that he possessed the patience & exerted diligent care to imitate Morton's every nuance in updated sonics. I have personally restored Morton's 1923 piano solos toward the goal of modern sonics & in
stereo-surround to boot! You can download my stuff by writing me at this
E-mail address: , I will give you the URL's (webaddresses) for the restored Morton

Walton Winslow, Composer

Notes very well transcribed, performance not smooth enough.
Mr.Trythall has done a magnificent transcription job with the notes. However Morton did refer to the Perfect perfection of passing notes, and Mt.T. has some way to go to achieve the super smoothness and effortless swagger of Morton's swing. The notes as transcribed belong to one style of performance only. A different style would use different notes, so either we copy the performance style exactly, or we play different notes.

Drew Nugent

Amazing. The recording had me hair standing on end and goosebumps taking my body
I felt like I was sitting in a room watching the great Jelly Roll Morton play his exciting and innovative pieces. The amount of energy and soul flowing throughout each piece was neverending. I must have played the cd a million times and it has not ceased to amaze me. Richard Trythall is a piano genius. I have not met many people who could really capture the spirit of Jelly Roll and his impact in the jazz world but Richard Trythall has done it perfectly. This is an essential cd to any jazz collector's library.