Anyone who wants to understand the roots of early jazz must turn to Jelly Roll Morton at some point. Although he's long been mocked for having claimed to have "invented" jazz, there was probably no one who played a bigger role in bringing together the disparate elements of early jazz. Jelly's compositions influenced many of the early greats such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Goodman. Aside from their historical value, these old Jelly Roll Morton tunes are a lot of fun to listen to. Jelly's bands included many of the standout names of the period, such as Johnny Dodds, Red Allen, Bubber Miley, Omer Simeon, Barney Bigard, Zutty Singleton, King Oliver, Kid Ory, Bud Scott, J.C. Higginbothom, Bernard Addison, Billy Taylor, Cozy Cole, Wilbur De Paris, Sidney Bechet, and many others.
Although there's some overlap with JSP's 5-CD Jelly Roll Morton set, which I already owned, I'm still glad I made this purchase. Whereas the JSP set includes more alternate takes of some of the most famous songs, this Proper Box set includes more material from Jelly's early days. In addition, as with all Proper Box sets, the little booklet adds a lot of value.