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Docteur Jazz – Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton

By 14 August 2015June 27th, 2016No Comments

Each month sortiesJAZZnights.com, the Quebecers Jazz site and Couleurs Jazz  collaborate by offering articles, texts and respective contents! Here is an interesting interview conducted by Claude Thibaut author Jean-Marc Beausoleil on the captivating Doctor Jazz, a tribute to the genius of Jelly Roll Morton and jazz today with Paul “Typist” Bouchard!

Jelly Roll Morton Dr Jazz

 

A few words with author Jean-Marc Beausoleil on the captivating Docteur Jazz, a francophone tribute to the genius of Jelly Roll Morton and today’s jazz with Paul «Dactylo» Bouchard !

 

I recently had the pleasure to read in french, the captivating Docteur Jazz, a tale in the present and the past – the present being a Montreal jazz pianist named Paul «Dactylo» Bouchard and the past, flamboyant Jelly Roll Morton, described by some as the father of jazz! This new book by author Jean-Marc Beausoleilhighlights segments of the Montreal and Quebec jazz scene. I had a few questions for Jean-Marc.

 

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CT – Where does this interest for Jelly Roll Morton come from ?
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JMB – “I wanted to write a novel on jazz, so I read up quite a bit of the subject.  Jelly Roll appeared early in my research as a great carnavalesque persona and subject.  He appeared from the past, festive yet funeral, a buffoon specter. In fact, because one of his first hits was the funeral march (Oh Didn’t He Ramble) and that black music was geting out of churches thanks to funeral processions, you could say that Jelly Roll was somewhat the caretaker, the memory of jazz, especially with the Congress Library recordings by Alan Lomax. I could’nt resist. »
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CT – What led you to this tribute ? 
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JMB  “The Roll’s real name was Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe.  He was french and catholic, and there was no book in french on him. I wanted to make him a honorary québécois.  American historians did not give him justice. A coloured man that talks about sex and money, that likes to show off his diamond tooth, that had the guts to write over 200 songs, that’s just too much for some people. He’s been accused of racism, sexism, of being a crimimal…What must be said about him is that he is as important as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.  He’s one of the founding fathers of jazz, the first that understood the intimite mathematics of this music and that laid it down to paper.  We must remember that one of the first jazzmen was francophone.  On top of that, he learned the tools of the trade in brothels!  He’s like a Baudelaire or Edgar Poe character, but no…he really existed!”

 

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CT – Why does the story happen in the present and the past ?
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JMB  “I wanted to talk about today’s jazz, in Montréal. This music is very alive nowadays. Luckily, music isn’t only about Top 40 and Musique Plus videos. By staging the chaotic life of today’s pianist, I could show that Jelly Roll is still alive.  And Paul «Dactylo» Bouchard give a lighter and funnier side to the book. The singer Mélodie, the sum of all the great female jazz singers, allowed me to highlight black woman in jazz.”
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CT  How did the idea come about ?
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JMB  “I write a lot. I was looking for a subject.  I’ve been listening to jazz since I was a kid.  Guitarist Éric St-Laurent is my cousin.  Younger, I followed him everywhere. I took advantage of that priviligied point of view to observe the evolution of jazzmen. I knew that the subject had my interest going enough for me to write two hundred pages.  Furthermore, I read dozens of works of the history of jazz.  The writing of this book has been a nice adventure that lasted more than a year. “
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CT  Do you play music ?
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JMB  “No, unfortunatly. Words is my music. The authors that I like – Céline, Proust, Ducharme – all have poetry that has rhythm.  Louis-Ferdinand Céline spoke often of the music of words.  For me, rhythm and the sound of the words are important. My instrument is the alphabet…”
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Docteur Jazz is available at Archambault and Renaud-Bray.
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Interview : Claude Thibault for sortiesJAZZnights.com

Jelly Roll Morton

 

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