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Vocalstyle Music Company
214-26 E. Sixth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio

The titles shown below as played by Lillian Tyler Plogstedt are probably the work of Mary Allison, who is believed to have created many of the Vocalstyle performances and who did most of the editing.  The most famous (notorious?!) artist to appear on Vocalstyle was Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton; see below.


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(courtesy Rob DeLand)

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(courtesy Terry Smythe)

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(courtesy Terry Smythe)


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Frank Himpsl wrote in 990222 MMDigest:

Subject: The Missing Jelly Roll Morton Piano Rolls

In reference to Michael Swanson's email regarding the missing piano rolls recorded by Jelly Roll Morton, there are four titles altogether which have to this day not been accounted for.  All of these were issued on the Vocalstyle "Instrumental Series" (i.e. no lyrics printed on roll), which number in the 50,000's.   The missing titles are

 1.   The Pearls
 2.   Mamanita
 3.   Kansas City Stomp
 4.   New Orleans Blues

It is any jazz roll collector's fondest desire to find (or perhaps to just to live long enough to hear) one of these missing performances by the great JRM.  The last of the original "missing" Vocalstyles to turn up was the song roll of "Tom Cat Blues," and that happened almost 30 years ago now.   So, maybe we're due for some change of luck, who knows!

Please, all members of MMD, do check your collections for any of these missing titles.  The label is a pale blue (solid color on white) inscribed Vocalstyle at top.  All of the tunes are original compositions by Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton, and they are inscribed as "played by Jelly Roll Morton" on the bottom of the roll/box label.

You will make the jazz history books if you have one of these, and a lot of collectors will be made very happy in the process.  I'll make a standing offer to anyone having one of these rolls to handle all costs involved in copying (i.e. recutting) and distribution of recuts to collectors at no cost to the owner, returning 100% of the proceeds back to the owner along with the original roll.

Somebody, somewhere out there, must have one of these.  Let's hope so.

All Best,
Frank Himpsl
22 Feb 1999 14:46:37 EST

Happily, "The Pearls" was discovered in May 1999 and subsequently recut by Karl Ellison, New England Music Rolls.  Frank Himpsl wrote:

Congratulations to Karl Ellison, for finding this long lost roll performance by the greatest jazz master of them all!!    I've heard the roll, and it's just fantastic.   Pure Jelly Roll Morton, done in his finest hour. Also, the greatest of heartfelt thanks to Karl for generously recutting this gem and sharing it with us all.   This is one of the greatest piano roll discoveries of the last 25 years!!!

Frank Himpsl
8 May 1999 11:50:14 EDT

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1920 advert in trade magazines

25 January 2004

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