[JPL] What is the highlight of your record collection?

HighNote Records jazzdepo at ix.netcom.com
Tue Oct 31 13:28:01 EST 2006

Sometime ago I wanted to buy a Jelly Roll Morton autograph.  I have a fair 
collection of letters, signatures and memorabilia so I called my autograph 
dealer and asked him if he had any Jelly Roll autographs.  "Geeze, Ray," he 
said, "I've only seen one of those come on the market -- on the return 
address of an envelop."  I asked him how much it went for and he told me 
well over a grand.

One of the musicians who played on Jelly's late sessions in New York lived 
out by me on Long Island.  I had gone over to his house as a kid and 
listened to records with him and I had invited him to play at my wedding.  I 
called the number and got the man's wife, now his widow.  I told her I was 
sorry about the loss not only to her, but to jazz in general.  I went on to 
tell her I was looking for a Jelly Roll autograph for my collection and was 
hoping to find one her husband would have sold.  She told me to call back in 
a couple of weeks after she had a chance to look around.

I called her back and she invited me over.  She sat me down and with great 
ceremony brought out a 78, still with the paper wrapper on it and gave it to 
me.  "Ray, ______ always appreciated that a young guy like you would come 
over and listen to his music.  When nobody else remembered him, you were 
there.  I know he'd want you to have this."

So, the Jewel in the Crown of my collection remains my 78 copy of "Don't You 
Leave Me Here" which bears the inscription, "To ________, Thanks for 
everything.  Jelly Roll Morton"

Ray Osnato
HighNote Records 

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