[Dixielandjazz] Whiteman - Welk

Marek Boym marekboym at gmail.com
Sat Jan 26 09:45:10 PST 2013

I could not agree more!
But then, like Nick, "I'm a lifelong Hodges fan, so I'm biased beyond belief!"

On 26 January 2013 18:47, Robert Ringwald <rsr at ringwald.com> wrote:
> Nick Dragos was a long-time broadcaster on the local Sacramento Jazz FM station. I sent him some posts about Whiteman and Welk and here is his very well written response.
> Unfortunately I cannot entice him to join DJML.
> ******
> Bob,
> Any guy who would pay good bucks to record Johnny Hodges on an album
> like Lawrence Welk did deserves kudos...........but I'm a lifelong Hodges fan,
> so I'm biased beyond belief!
> As far as I could see, Paul Whiteman was a major force in jazz, even though
> he himself was not a jazz-oriented performer. Hiring Bix and other solid jazz
> stars and giving them plenty of solo space on major recordings is hardly a bad
> thing.......hiring Mildred Bailey & Bing Crosby as vocalists, giving these major
> innovators their first major national public exposure, is surely not to his
> discredit.
> Look at the noted jazz giants who, before Whiteman hired them, were
> barely noticed by the public....Red Norvo, Jack Teagarden and several
> others were able to command much bigger paychecks after their Whiteman
> tenure...and, by the way, their stints with Whiteman didn't seem to destroy
> their jazz credibility in later years like they say it did to Bix, now did it?
> All that bullshit by pseudo-intellectual critics and commentators about Bix
> being driven to drink and destruction by being "stuck" in Whiteman's band
> completely missed the point: Bix, from all fairly unbiased research I've seen
> from the late great Dick Sudhalter and others, liked being in Whiteman's band,
> was paid great money for doing so {despite an almost complete inability to
> read music at anything more than a rudimentary level}, was given the freedom
> to record many small group sessions {which are what we really remember most
> about Bix}, proudly sent home copies of every Whiteman recording he was
> featured on {which were, according to accounts, left unopened by his family}
> and rubbed elbows with some of the most prominent musical figures in
> American music.
> And, lest we forget, after Bix burned himself out and couldn't continue to
> perform, Whiteman continued to pay Beiderbecke his handsome salary
> for months.
> As for Welk......he, too, featured several jazz stars within his own context
> and it worked quite well. Although it wasn't a primary focus of his
> presentations, Welk's band could swing hard if called upon...on the
> reruns of those vintage programs on PBS stations, every once in a while
> a delightful swing performances rears its head.
> And, lest we forget, the music business is just that: business. Welk created
> a solid business empire, extending to television and recording production
> and ownership, and died a very wealthy, successful man. Sadly, few jazz
> performers accomplish this, as we all know far too well.
> Dragos
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