[Dixielandjazz] Whiteman controversy
marekboym at gmail.com
Sun Jan 20 13:44:41 PST 2013
Does a magazine description of music as "jazz" make it such? I wonder.
When I was a young jazz fan in Poland, and then (since age 16) in
Israel, Rock'n'Roll was described as jazz in both countries. So was
Latin-American music. It was only listening which showed me they
weren't. I risked being kicked up from the boarding school I attended
in my first year here to run away and see Evis Presley films, or The
Tommy Steele Story (boarding schools here are nothing like the English
public schools, Judy - my stay there was financed by the Jewish
Agency, which saved my parents money they hadn't).
All of which does not mean I don't consider some of the Whiteman music
jazz. True, his band played a lot of saccharinve ballads, but so did,
much later, that of Erskine Hawkins, and probably many of our revered
swing bands as well; Tommy Dorsey comes to mind.
On 20 January 2013 22:45, Judy Eames <jude at judyeames.co.uk> wrote:
> Back in the day; 15 years ago?
> The OKOM label was coined because nobody could agree what sort of jazz
> everybody was talking about. We seem to be losing the plot?
> I hold no particular brief for Paul Whitemen but for some listees to take
> offence when others describe his music as "Jazz" belies history.
> I'm sorry to bang on about the Melody Maker but it is a primary source of
> evidence and Whiteman's band is frequently referred to as a jazz orchestra.
> Item in the "Syncopation and Dance Band news" section of the March 1926
> Whiteman's Orchestra was paid $25,000 for a week to play at the San
> Francisco Motor Show ... "The crowd around the orchestra platform was so
> thick that movement around motor cars was impossible and every attempt to
> attract buyers was nullified by Whiteman's jazz."
> April: "Americans visiting this country say that Whiteman is still
> considered King of Jazz in the States."
> May :"Whiteman's leading saxophonist plays a solo which gives an entirely
> new complexion of the instrument"
> There's lots more but it's time for supper and a glass of red wine.
> I wonder if the recordings that Brian dislikes are properly
> representative.... did they improvise solos in proper performances.... will
> we ever know?:-)
> I don't pretend to be an expert on styles; to me it's all a lovely mish
> mash which started with Barber, Ball, Bilk, Dick Charlesworth, Monty
> Sunshine etc etc and I do think that Brubeck played wonderful jazz but I
> certainly don't expect everyone else to agree.
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