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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Some views on 1920s jazz and Paul Whiteman........

(I'm biding time while I annotate and upload the Joe Venuti list, I'll vent a bit) Anyway...Paul Whiteman. I get a bit sick of jazz "purists" going on and on and on about how Paul Whiteman wasn't "jazz". Maybe it's that name: WHITE-man??? lmfao!! O.k, he and his band were white...true. But, however, some of the best musicians in the business came through that band...Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Bix, Bing Crosby...I could go on and on...get it?. They were incredibly popular, and the music is good.....they pop up all over the place on my lists, showcasing other artists that I feature. Yeah, I post lists of all the black bands, too...I just post music that is good....I don't practice historical bands this, white bands that....just good tunes...jazz AND pop...whatever. I'm done....and I'll keep posting. I'll keep posting what folks LISTENED (and NOT just in the omnipotent 'ol USA...there's equally great music from bands from many countries during the era) to (not what they WISHED people had listened to, as viewed from our semi-enlightened era) AND white.   Hey, f*ck the politics..........KEEP SWINGING!!


  1. B, I can only speak personally, but my relative lack of interest in the Paul Whiteman band (or rather, orchestra) isn't down-the-nose snobbery, let alone racism (or inverted racism).

    I will see your Lang, Venuti and Crosby and raise you a Beiderbecke - the best of the lot (though it's not that PW discovered Bix, just took him on and paid him). "Barnaccle Bill", a jolly song, was I think with Whiteman.

    It's just those awfully syrupy strings that tend to weigh the proceedings down with a layer of dripping.

    If it were just a single sprightly fiddle or two, it might be an enhancement of the harmony, and the orchestral palette (do you know the Palast Orchester?). But it's a sluggish section.

    A second factor was that the Whiteman organisation (no doubt agents rather than the man himself) tended to have a swelled head about his position: "Inventor of Jazz", or some such. As did JR Morton, but with a bit more claim to pioneering status (and muscial ability!). Such extravagant claims make enemies of other good musicians trying to scratch a living.

    I'm glad there was Whiteman INSTEAD OF a void, or an utterly swingless orchestra. But Luis Russell, Fletcher Henderson, Duke of course, Don Redman, early Benny and then Artie, all had more dynamism, were more agile, had more lift.

    SO there's a view back for you. :D

  2. I agree. I don't post a lot of him for very much of the same reasons. I do post him occasionally, tho, 'cuz I really do post Sometimes he's a means to an end....getting up other musicians/singers who were with him :) I guess my original point was that I really do post a lot of what folks listened to, whether I personally like it or not so much.

  3. I should also have mentioned the great Bennie Moten too - and not just because he passed a baton of traditional jazz and swing directly on to the steaming superexpress that was Bill Basie, but because he was a gas in his own right.

    Apologies B if I came across in my post more polemically than I intended! - I just like jazz (and errrr, music) of most sorts, and so can get a bit indignant if someone makes excessive claims, or has them made for (usually) him.

    In other words, it's not a thing especially against Paul Whiteman, it similarly grieves me a bit if say Wah-Wah Watson, Michael Buble or even the originally jazzy Quincy when he is (as sadly became normal) in rather tepid popular/commercial mode is labelled a "jazz great"! :D )

    Whereas, FWIW, I think Harry Connick HAS some of the "jazz" feeling, tradition and depth!

  4. Just noticed you also have three wodges of Moten, so I certainly didn't need to argue that case with you! :D

  5. You're pretty much preaching to the choir, really. I didn't find it polemic, actually. Most of my regular daily listening is 30s-40s small combo stuff...some larger bands, too. I've always tried to be wide-ranging in my posts, as a lot of folks really did listen to the "Sweet bands", some stuff I often find quite sleep-inducing. I mostly like opening a window into life and culture 20s-50s....everything from music to movies, food, drinks, fashion, politics, race....the whole Megillah, if you will. It's funny, it seems that most people then, as now....aren't very pedestrian...not all that much has changed over the decades in that regard, it seems. I've been decorating the X-mas tree tonight, and was trapped with the 24-7 Chicago Christmas radio station was living hell...contemporary music holiday hell! Give me Richard Himber,Guy Lombardo, Paul Whiteman hell any :0

  6. That all makes sense to me. Right up to the Christmas radio happy-fascism, that is ... ;)

  7. I'll take old, syrupy cheesy over recent syrupy cheesy, given the choice....though, granted, it's sort of like the choice between having the nurse give the injection in the right ass-cheek vs the left........ ;)