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

Music Appreciation

Day course

Mike Denham

22 January 2022


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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 Chicago 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 a 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 fine solo pianist, with a tasteful and exciting repertoire of jazz from the early years of the 20th century.  He plays classic Joplin ragtime, the stomps of Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller, and popular songs by George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, as well as blues and boogie-woogie.  His concerts are seasoned with entertaining stories about these musicians and the colourful lives they led.

In a parallel career as a chemical engineer Mike led workshops on many different subjects – experience that has come in handy delivering successful courses at Dillington in recent years!

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.