Jelly Roll Morton

Birth Name:
Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe
Birth Date:
September 20, 1890
Birth Place:
1443 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
Death Date:
July 10, 1941
Place of Death:
Los Angeles General Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death:
Respiratory distress due to previous stab wounds
Cemetery Name:
Calvary Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Along with Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Kid Ory, and Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton was one of the most important musical figure to emerge from the early days of New Orleans. While most will dismiss his claim that he, Jelly Roll Morton, alone created jazz music, there can be no doubt to his technical brilliance as a pianist, composer and arranger. For it was Jelly Roll Morton who transformed the rigid confines of ragtime and ushered in the free form structures of jazz. His composition "Jelly Roll Blues", published in 1915, was one of the first published jazz compositions. Morton also wrote "King Porter Stomp", "Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say" which were covered by every major jazz and dance orchestra including Benny Goodman and Fletcher Henderson. Sadly he never received a penny in royalties for his original compositions and he was only recognized for his contributions decades after his passing when Morton was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, elected as a charter member of the Gennett Records Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Fun Facts

In 1939, Morton was stabbed twice, in the head and above the heart, at the Jungle Inn in Washington, D.C. He was first taken to a white hospital who refused service. He was later taken to a black hospital that provided subpar treatment. He never fully recovered from those injuries, and two years later, on July 10th, 1941, he died while in the company of Anita Gonzales in Los Angeles.

Upon Jelly Roll Morton’s passing, his casket was carried to his final resting place by jazz legends Kid Ory, Papa Mutt Carey, Dink Johnson,  Ed Garland and Fred Washington. These 5 gentleman were members of an elite group – they all were members of the first black jazz band to make a record.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Calvary Cemetery

4201 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, California, 90023


North America


Map of Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California
Map of Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California

Grave Location:

Section N, Lot 347, Grave 4

Grave Location Description

From the entrance on Whittier Blvd., turn left at the first opportunity past the office. Stay to your left as you pass the Our Lady’s Garden mausoleum. Once past the mausoleum on your right, look for the number 343 on the curb on your right. Park at this number and walk up 9 rows to the base of the tree for the final resting place of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton.

Grave Location GPS

34.030658762641465, -118.17890064000761



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