Oh Mr Jelly! The Life, Times and Music of Jelly Roll Morton, “Originator of Jazz”

Music Appreciation

Day course

Mike Denham

30 January 2021


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Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton was a piano player, entertainer, composer and band leader who claimed to be the “Originator of Jazz”. An outrageous claim! ….Or was it? That’s the question we bear in mind as we explore Morton’s role in 1920’s New Orleans, 1920s Chicgo and 1930s New York. We’ll discuss how he came the first to write down jazz music, made exquisite recordings with his Red Hot Peppers, and his struggles for fame and fortune after the great depression.

Morton was marvellous, innovative pianist and Mike will illustrate his styles at the grand piano. This course will appeal to those who enjoy music, history and characterful lives. No knowledge of jazz is assumed, but nevertheless jazz enthusiasts will enjoy new insights into one of the genre’s most colourful and misunderstood characters.



Tutor information

Mike Denham is a self-confessed ragtime junkie. He plays solo concerts, frequently including all four of the genres we shall explore today and has performed at prestigious venues including St George’s Bristol and London’s Purcell Room. He has a reputation for entertaining audiences with colourful stories about composers and performers and the lives they led. Mike also appears with the renowned West-Country-based jazz band the “Sunset Cafe Stompers”, and he presents his SpeakEasy Nights at various venues, in which he duets with leading jazz musicians. Mike has recorded two solo piano albums “The Pearls” and “Heliotrope Bouquet”. In a parallel career as a Chemical Engineer, Mike led workshops on many different subjects. He even played piano to surprised participants on a couple of occasions – experience which will no doubt come in handy on this course! For further information visit Mike’s website www.mikedenham.co.uk

Covid information

Dillington House wishes to reassure everyone that we are working closely with Somerset County Council to ensure every measure is being taken to make Dillington House a safe place for everyone.

All course participants will be sent further guidance prior to the course date.

Dillington House is following Government guidelines and adhering to new guidance including local or national lockdowns.

All places booked can be transferred or refunded in the event this course is cancelled. Individuals who are affected by local lockdowns will be able to transfer to an alternative course. All other terms and conditions apply.