King Porter Stomp and the Jazz Tradition By Jeffrey Magee
Fletcher won quite a few battles of music with “King Porter Stomp” And Jelly Roll Morton knew this, and he used to go and say “I made Fletcher Henderson.” And Fletcher used to laugh … and say “You did,” you know. He wouldn’t argue.
Toward the end of his life in May 1938, Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton (1890-1941) walked into the Library of Congress’s Coolidge Auditorium sporting an expensive suit, a gold watch fob and rings, and a diamond-studded incisor. H e sat down at the piano and, with the assistance of folklorist Alan Lomax, conveyed his music and life story into what Lomax called a “one-lung portable Presto recorder”. Speaking in a measured, orotund baritone, Morton explored his past at a leisurely, dignified pace, but he was eager to set the record straight on one particular subject: that he had “personally originated jazz in New Orleans in 1902”. Historians have since shown the origins of jazz to be more complicated than Morton allowed but none can refute the story of his most popular and enduring composition, “King Porter Stomp”.
This tune become to be the outstanding favorite of every great hot band throughout the world that had the accomplishments and qualifications of playing it. And until today this tune has been the cause of many great bands to come to fame. It has caused the outstanding tunes today to use the backgrounds that belong to “King Porter” in order to make great tunes o f themselves.
“King Porter Stomp” did indeed become a standard during the Swing Era, widely performed by big bands throughout the 1930s and beyond. Moreover, as Morton said, many musicians used the chords, the “backgrounds,” of ” “King Porter“‘s Trio and Stomp sections as the basis for new tunes. Adding luster to “King Porter“‘s agency in jazz history, Benny Goodman gave the piece a key role in an account of his band’s legendary performance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles on the night of August 21, 1935. As Goodman recalled, when the band started playing Fletcher Henderson’s arrangements o f “Sometimes I ‘m Happy” and ” King Porter Stomp,” the “place exploded”