American Vaudeville Museum

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Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson was one of the ragtime piano players who worked as “perfessors” in New Orleans bordellos until the U.S. Navy shut down Storyville in 1917.  Besides Tony there were Jelly Roll Morton, Game Kid, Buddy Carter and many more, all of them helping to create blues and jazz.  He left the gilded parlor of Madame Gonzales to conduct the Whitman Sisters band in one of their earliest tours in 1904.

Tony Jackson formally adapted his improvisations into songs published as sheet music.  His most famous, “Pretty Baby” (“Oh, I want a lovin’ baby, and it might as well be you”) was a love song to a young male prostitute.