Introducing the first volume in the highly anticipated "Roots of Modern American Music" series - an examination of the life and legacy of Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton. As a foundational and long misunderstood figure in the history of the uniquely American art form now known as jazz, Jelly Roll Morton casts a long shadow. A prodigy at age 7 and an outcast by 14, Morton was considered a genius by all who knew him. But along with the brilliance, his fellow musicians and his public were forced to confront an ego and attendant eccentricities that were often mystifying and sometimes self-defeating. Jelly Roll Morton examines this man with an unflinching eye while considering both his gifts and his flaws."The Roots of Modern American Music" series aims to provide the reading public with informative, well-researched, and eminently readable volumes on major American cultural figures. The series as a whole will cover the depth and breadth of key personalities who have made our country a musical beacon to people across the globe.