Are you a real Professor, people ask me quite often. I usually explain I am a professor in ukulology, but I am shure there are lots of people who know much more about ukuleles and still do not call themselves a professor. In fact the name Professor Peter came up when I startet playing with Doctor Dick as a ukulele duo. We wanted a name that was easy to remember, that sounded right and also had something to do with the music we played. There are more Doctors in music and more specific in Jazz, but…I never found another professor.
Untill I went looking for the expression “Jelly Roll”, an expression I found in a couple of songs. I found this wikipedia page about Jelly Roll Morton.
Apart from the information I was looking for about Jelly Rolls (it refers to certain female parts) I read about Jelly Roll Morton to be a Whorehouse Professor. Now that was an interesting read!
The next quote I found on the Wikipedia page: Cornetist Rex Stewart recalled that Morton had chosen “the nom de plume ‘Morton’ to protect his family from disgrace if he was identified as a whorehouse ‘professor’.
Every brothel seemed to have a pianoplayer playing live music. They were called Professor and besides bringing entertainment their job might have been to indicate the rhythm of the work being done.
More research about this fenomenon brought new references. For example this one: 12 Essential Performances from the Piano “Professors” of New Orleans
So at last I found a connection between music and the title of Professor. But should I be happy with it? I mean, I cannot see myself playing uke in a whorehouse. You cannot attribute to the atmosphere with a small instrument now can you?