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King Porter Stomp (1910)

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Origin and Chart Information
I don’t know what the term “stomp” means, myself. There wasn’t really any meaning only that people would stamp their feet.

- Jelly Roll Morton

AKAKing Porter's Stomp
Rank 306
Music Jelly Roll Morton
Lyrics Sonny Burke
Sid Robin

This lively ragtime tune is one of Jelly Roll Morton’s earliest and finest works and is said to be “the piece that heralded the ascent of swing music in America through uncounted big band recordings.”

 

More on Jelly Roll Morton at JazzBiographies.com
 

In Jelly’s Blues: The Life, Music, and Redemption of Jelly Roll Morton, authors Howard Reich and William Gaines go on to say that “King Porter Stomp”

...transformed an obscure Chicago clarinetist into a king himself--the official white “King of Swing.” Goodman’s sensational, explosive arrangement had come to him from the pen of the black bandleader, Fletcher Henderson, whose swing band had gone broke in 1934. It was “King Porter Stomp,” Goodman believed, that saved him in 1935, when his first national tour was bombing coast to coast, until he reached Oakland, California...[Goodman said of Bunny Berigan] “Before he played four bars, there was such a yelling and stomping and carrying on in the hall that I thought a riot had broken out.” The Oakland triumph foreshadowed the even more spectacular success Goodman achieved in Los Angeles, at the Palomar Ballroom, playing “King Porter Stomp” and swing tunes inspired by it.

“King Porter Stomp” made the charts three times,

 

Chart information used by permission from
Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954
 

Although its popularity crested in the late twenties and early thirties, “King Porter Stomp” was probably written somewhere between 1905 and 1910. According to sources in the essay “King Porter Stomp” and the Jazz Tradition (Current Musicology Nos. 71-72, Spring 2001-Spring 2002), by Jeffrey Magee, Morton claimed he conceived the tune in 1905. Others put the year at 1906 and as late as 1910. “King Porter Stomp” was not copyrighted until 1924 and lyrics, by Sid Robin and Sonny Burke, were not added for years after that. Publishers routinely paid only fifteen or twenty dollars per tune, so for decades, Morton kept his melodies as private material, choosing to use them in the then-popular “battles of music.”

 

More on Sid Robin at JazzBiographies.com
 

In his book, Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and “Inventor of Jazz”, Alan Lomax quotes Morton revealing the tune’s title:

Porter King was an educated gentleman with a far better musical training than mine and he seemed to have a yen for my style of playing, although we had two different styles. He particularly liked one certain number and so I named it after him, only changed the name backwards and called it “King Porter Stomp.”

I don’t know what the term “stomp” means, myself. There wasn’t really any meaning only that people would stamp their feet. However, this tune became to be the outstanding favorite of every great hot band throughout the world that had the accomplishments to play it.

- Jeremy Wilson

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By the Same Writers...

Written by the Same Composer(s)...
This section shows the jazz standards written by the same writing team.

Sonny Burke, Jelly Roll Morton and Sid Robin

Year Rank Title
1910 306 King Porter Stomp

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