How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz

Jonah Winter, illus. by Keith Mallett. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-963-4
Winter uses a second-person narrative to create a sense of immediacy as he describes Jelly Roll Morton’s tumultuous upbringing and immersion in music: “If you’d been Jelly Roll Morton/ you would’ve known/ that the only way to rise up/ and fly away/ was one piano note at a time.” Musical interludes and a gumbo metaphor for jazz spice up the recounting, while artist Mallett’s dramatic acrylics conjure a sense of rolling movement. An afterword discusses Morton’s influence and whether, as the musician claimed, he actually “invented” jazz. Ages 5–8. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/27/2015
Release date: 06/16/2015
Genre: Children's
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