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Jelly Roll Morton

Alan Lomax: Well, what about some more scat songs . . . that you used to sing way back then?

Jelly Roll Morton: Oh, I’ll sing you some scat songs. That was way before Louie Arm . . . Armstrong’s time. By the way, scat is something that a lot of people don’t understand they . . . and they begin to believe that the first scat numbers was ever done, was done by one of my hometown boys, Louie Armstrong. But I must take the credit away, since I know better. The first man that ever did a scat number in history of this country was a man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, by the name of Joe Sims, an old comedian. And from that, Tony Jackson and myself, and several more grabbed it in New Orleans. And found it was pretty good for an introduction of a song.

Lomax: What does scat mean?

Morton: Scat doesn’t mean anything but just something to give a song a flavor. For an instance we’ll say:

Scat, skeet, skee, do doodle do,
Skeet, skuld, skoot, do doodle do,
Skoodulah ball, be-duh-be-dee zoot zoot zu,
Skwadab, ah skwazap, skwazeh, I said skweedle-dee-do,
Be-be-be-deep, boddle-ee baloot-a da bah bah baba hah-duh-jop,
Ah, skoojle-itle skoodle-ee do, just skoojud-eet skoodle-ee do,
Ah, skoojle-it skoodle-ee do, ohh skweedle-ee,
Dee dee dis skwad da-be-da-ba,
Skoojle-itle skoodle-ee do, yeah skoojle-it skoodle-dee do,
Oh skoojle-it scat scat sba-de-be-da,
Scat skoojun-it skoodle-ee do.

•••••


Jazz music is to be played sweet, soft, plenty of rhythm. When you have your plenty of rhythm with your plenty swing, it becomes beautiful.

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