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Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?

Azizi 25 May 09 - 08:21 AM
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Riginslinger 25 May 09 - 08:54 AM
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Subject: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 08:21 AM

A review of chapter 6 in Elijah Wald's recently published book How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'n' Roll contains this quote and paragraph:

"Paul Whiteman was known as the King of Jazz, and no one as yet has come near carrying that title with more certainty and dignity." -- Duke Ellington

Paul Whiteman led the most popular and influential orchestra of the 1920s. Hiring some of the period's finest musicians and arrangers, who mixed classical techniques with jazz rhythms and melodies, he started out making huge hits like 1920's "Whispering," then created the decade's equivalent of Sgt Pepper when he comissioned George Gershwin to write A Rhapsody in Blue (this is the original 1924 version with Gershwin on piano). In the phrase of the time, he "made a lady out of jazz," changing it from a music of small, hot improvising bands into a style arranged for formal dance orchestras and concert presentations.

-snip-

I'm interested in exploring in this thread why some people thought or still think that Paul Whiteman was/is considered the "King of Jazz". I'm also interested in folks' opinions about whether "making a lady out of jazz" was a good thing or not.

Of course, other thoughts about jazz then and now are also welcome in this thread.

Thanks in advance for your participation in this discussion.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 08:33 AM

I admit right of the bat that I know very little about jazz music. I didn't grow listening (or dancing) to it, and only became acquainted with some jazz {Jusef Latif, Donald Byrd, Pharoah Saunders, Miles Davis, John Coltrane) when I married my (now ex) husband who was a jazz musician (trumpet/fugel horn).

And I admit right of the bat that I have problems with the idea that a White man (ironically named Whiteman) is considered the king of a musical tradition that originated with and was (is still?) heavily influenced by African American people.

Perhaps if Paul Whiteman were considered the King of White jazz music that would sit better with me (not that it matters a hill of beans what I feel or think).

But is there such a thing as White jazz music and Black jazz music (similarly to there being Black (American) gospel music and White (American) gospel music?

I'm introducing this topic and asking these questions not to stir up arguments, but because I really want to know what folks think about this subject.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 May 09 - 08:54 AM

Azizi - Frankly, I didn't know anything about Paul Whiteman, though I'd heard a lot about Duke Ellington from a very early age. My folks had some 78 RPM records of Ellington's. The first time I ran across the name of Paul Whiteman was when I was doing some research on Jack Teagarden for something I was writing and discovered that Teagarden had entered into a contract with Whiteman which prevented him from going solo for a number of years. The writer of the article seemed to think that the contractual arrangement kept Teagarden from attaining the notoriety that he otherwise would have.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:03 AM

Here's an excerpt from an online article about Paul Whiteman:

On October 23, 1928, a deal was made with Carl Laemmle and Nat Goldstone of Universal Studios for Paul Whiteman to appear with his band in an upcoming motion picture. Universal assigned Paul Schofield as a writer for the movie. During the month of November jn 1928, Schofield had traveled on the road with the Whiteman Orchestra, meeting with Whiteman to discuss the story on the train between stops. On December 23, 1928, Paul Whiteman gave a concert at Carnegie Hall, with Bee Palmer as an added attraction... Universal Pictures filmed the concert for possible use in the motion picture planned with Whiteman in the following year. The film, "King of Jazz", was finally completed in 1930, but did not include any of the footage from the Carnegie Hall concert...

"King of Jazz" was the first motion picture to use a pre-recorded soundtrack made independently of the actual filming. Whiteman insisted that the entire soundtrack should be pre-recorded in order to obtain the best sound, and avoiding the poor recording conditions and extraneous noises found in a movie studio. Universal opposed the idea, but Whiteman insisted and prevailed over the reluctant studio executives. After the sound was recorded, the scene was filmed. Later, the film was synchronized to the soundtrack. Also, this allowed the movie to be directed in the same manner as a silent film, with resulting sounds not affecting the completed film. ..

The movie won an Oscar for Herman Rosse in the category of Best Art Decoration/Set Decoration in 1930 (the only category for which the film was nominated). The Oscar was presented at the Academy Awards ceremony held on November 5, 1930 at 8:00 PM in the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. This ceremony was broadcast on the radio.

During its national release, "King of Jazz" cleared less than $900,000. Around Hollywood, the movie came to be called "Universal's Rhapsody in the Red". Overseas, it fared better and eventually made a profit. During the 1930s, the film found its best audience in Cape Town, South Africa, where it played seventeen return engagements. Unfortunately, the delays in obtaining a script resulted in two factors that affected the profitability of the film. First, the public was tiring of the plethora of movie musicals that started with the film "Broadway Melody" in 1929. Also, the Depression resulted in an economic downturn that caused people to focus more on essentials, thereby preventing a more successful run of the movie. In fact, because of poor box office receipts and the Old Gold radio program not being renewed in April 1930, Whiteman had to let 10 bandmembers go and cut salaries by 15% on the remaining bandmembers.

http://www.redhotjazz.com/kingofjazz.html


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:10 AM

Riginslinger, I don't know anything about Paul Whiteman either, but as I said earlier, I know very little about jazz.

And because I know so little about jazz, I'm not proposing anyone else's name as the "King of Jazz" or the "Queen of Jazz". But it occurs to me that just as there are more than one king and queen at the same time and at successive times, there can be more than one "king and queen of jazz".

Also I'm aware about jazz enough to know that there are different types of jazz-Dixieland jazz, cool jazz, and more that I can't think of off the top of my head.

So maybe there were/are leaders (kings/queens) for each of these types of jazz.

??


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:13 AM

Here's another excerpt from the "King of Jazz" article by Dennis Pereyra

"The [KIng of Jazz] movie included the first Technicolor animated cartoon segment by animators Walter Lantz (later famous for Woody Woodpecker and other characters) and William Nolan. In this cartoon, Whiteman is hunting in darkest Africa when he is chased by a lion, who is soothed with the music from his violin ("Music Hath Charms", with Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang). After an elephant squirts water on a monkey in a tree, the monkey throws a cocoanut at the elephant, which hits Whiteman on the head. The bump on his head forms into a crown. As Charles Irwin then says, "And that's how Paul Whiteman was crowned the 'King of Jazz'". One of the characters making a brief appearance in the cartoon was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the star of the Universal cartoon studio led byLantz. Additionally a black-and-white sound cartoon featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit titled "My Pal Paul", that was released in 1930 by Universal, promoted the "King of Jazz" movie by including songs from the movie and the cartoon Paul Whiteman character."

http://www.redhotjazz.com/kingofjazz.html


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:14 AM

Azizi - I think you probably nailed it when you cited the movie. Once something gets onto the silver screen--especially in those days--it becomes gospel, even if it's wrong.

                Frankly, from what I know about it--and that's not much--I'd say Louie Armstrong deserves the title of "King of Jazz."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:30 AM

The paragraph from the "King of Jazz" movie about an elephant squirting water on a monkey in the tree makes me think of The Signifying Monkey.

Check out this version of The Signifying Monkey with a provocative introductory comment:

"This is a relatively clean version of one of these songs which appeared in The Book of American Negro Folklore (1958). From the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. The Lion, as you can see, is a particularly bad reader: he takes the monkey's words literally over and over again.

The Monkey and the Lion
Got to talking one day.
Monkey looked down and said, Lion,
I hear you's king in every way.
But I know someone
Who do not think that is true—
He told me he could whip
The living daylights out of you.
Lion said, Who?
Monkey said, Lion,
He talked about your mama
And talked about your grandma, too,
And I'm too polite to tell you
What he said about you.
Lion said, Who said what? Who?
Monkey in the tree,
Lion on the ground.
Monkey kept on signifying
But he didn't come down.
Monkey said, His name is Elephant—
He stone sure not your friend.
Lion said, He don't need to be
Because today will be his end.
Lion took off through the jungle
Lickity-split,
Meaning to grab Elephant
And tear him bit by bit. Period!
He come across Elephant copping a righteous nod
Under a fine cool shady tree.
Lion said, You big old no-good so-and-so,
It's either you or me.
Lion let out a solid roar
And bopped Elephant with his paw.
Elephant just took his trunk
And busted old Lion's jaw.
Lion let out another roar,
Reared up six feet tall.
Elephant just kicked him in the belly
And laughed to see him drop and fall.
Lion rolled over,
Copped Elephant by the throat.
Elephant just shook him loose
And butted him like a goat,
Then he tromped him and he stomped him
Till the Lion yelled, Oh, no!
And it was near-night sunset
When Elephant let Lion go.
The signifying Monkey
Was still setting in his tree
When he looked down and saw the Lion.
Said, Why, Lion, who can that there be?
Lion said, It's me.
Monkey rapped, Why, Lion,
You look more dead than alive!
Lion said, Monkey, I don't want
To hear your jive-end jive.
Monkey just kept on signifying,
Lion, you for sure caught hell—
Mister Elephant's done whipped you
To a fare-thee-well!
Why, Lion, you look like to me
You been to the precinct station
And had the third degree,
Else you look like
You been high on gage
And done got caught
In a monkey cage!
You ain't no king to me.
Facts, I don't think that you
Can even as much as roar—
And if you try I'm liable
To come down out of this tree and
Whip your tail some more.
The Monkey started laughing
And jumping up and down.
But he jumped so hard the limb broke
And he landed—bam!—on the ground.
When he went to run, his foot slipped
And he fell flat down.
Grrr-rrr-rr-r! The Lion was on him
With his front feet and his hind.
Monkey hollered, Ow!
I didn't mean it, Mister Lion!
Lion said, You little flea-bag you!
Why I'll eat you up alive.
I wouldn't a-been in this fix a-tall
Wasn't for your signifying jive.
Please, said Monkey, Mister Lion,
If you'll just let me go,
I got something to tell you, please,
I think you ought to know.
Lion let the Monkey loose
To see what his tale could be—
And Monkey jumped right back on up
Into his tree.
What I was gonna tell you, said Monkey,
Is you square old so-and-so,
If you fool with me I'll get
Elephant to whip your head some more.
Monkey, said the Lion,
Beat to his unbooted knees,
You and all your signifying children
Better stay up in them trees.
Which is why today
Monkey does his signifying
A-way-up out of the way.

http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~boade/fall03/signifying.html
African American Literature and Culture
eaboade@mail.utexas.edu

"The Signifying Monkey"

snip-

All of which leads me to wonder if Duke Ellington was just being political when he stated that Paul Whiteman was the King of Jazz or was Duke Ellington signifyin' (in a manner of speaking?) And to paraphrase that introductory comment presented above, are we being "bad readers" if we take Ellington's words about Paul Whiteman being the King of Jazz at face value?


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 09:34 AM

Given the racism of those times, would White people have conferred the title of "King of Jazz" on any Black man?

[That's a rhetorical question. I know the answer is "No".]


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:10 AM

The history of jazz is as splintered as any music out there. We all tend to pay homage to those who came before that advanced or changed the history of "whatever." Just as Wynton Marsalis does so in his excellent series on The Duke, so did Ellington in recognizing Whiteman. And make no mistake, Whiteman was an early influence of major proportion.

I doubt there was much of a racial element to it as I think there were far fewer racial divisions in jazz than the rest of society. I could be wrong......just a personal opinion.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:13 AM

btw, the KOJ title was given to PW long before Ellington's comment and considring his early influence, it was not a bad call. I don't like PW in this day and age but that has no bearing on what he did for the genre.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 May 09 - 10:16 AM

But here's something that just came to me: a lot of the famous white musicians like Kid Ory, Jack Teagarden, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey played trombones, while a number of the black musicians like Louie Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gilespie played trumpets. Does an African voice sound more like a trumpet, and a European voice sound more like a trombone?
                      I'm sure one could make too much of this, but it is kind of an interesting side-line event.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:15 AM

LOL.......and drummers.......or reed playeers? I wanna's see where you can go with this........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: pdq
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:29 AM

Kid Ory, Barney Bigard and Fletcher Henderson were not very dark skinned but they were ethnically Black.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 25 May 09 - 11:45 AM

There are/were plenty of top class white trumpet players - Bix Beiderbeck, Chet Baker, Harry James spring to mind. I've always put Bix on a par with Louis Armstrong and he was (to my mind) the only really good thing about the Whiteman orchestra.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:14 PM

Blues is indisputably an african american tradition that has been adopted by white musicians.

Jazz does not trace back to an african american ancestor.

Aspects of Jazz trace back to African American Roots, but it is a hotch potch of influences.

In blues, it is clear that the origins lie with Black performers.

In Jazz, it is not clear that this is the case and amongst Jazz musicians there has never been any sense of Race snobbery, but a healthy respect for the key movers in Jazz history.

Jazz is not a style of music that the ear grows accustomed to easily, but is a style that must be learned and studied.

Not necessarily at an academic institution, but it must be studie nonetheless.

There is no significant Jazz musician who did not study the work of his predecessors.

Some, like wes montgomery and chet baker were so talented that they were able to learn how to do it by listeing intently to the work of the masters who went before, but most learned it from some kind of mentor.

So Jazz was never a roots musical style in itself, but always a complex art form constructed from pieces of roots artforms.

John coltrane once said of Stan Getz "everybody wishes they could play like Stan" or words to that effect.

The influence of Jazz musicians on each other, and the respect they had for eacch other was unaffected by race as they all knew how hard it was to be a good jazz musician and they all knew that no racist thug was in any position to pass comment on a subject that was most likely to be entirely beyond their ability to comprehend.


The Audiences and the Club owners were of course a different kettle of fish ...


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:32 PM

The essential fact, to my mind, is that jazz is an improvised medium. How and in what fashion that improvisation takes place is not germane to the argument, but it is improvised - that's what makes the music "jazz".

Whiteman's orchestra included some of the most talented singers and jazz musicians of the day - mainly white - but what the orchestra played as an entity was not improvised and was not jazz. The scores were carefully orchestrated - and there were some passages - particularly for instrumentalists like Bix Beiderbecke - where some improvised solo passages could be played. But the "King of Jazz" sobriquet was applied to Whiteman by himself. The jazz musicians in the orchestra - Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang - played their best jazz outside the umbrella of the Whiteman orchestra. The vocalists in Whiteman's male trio "The Rhythm Boys" were Al Rinker, Harry Barris and Bing Crosby and, to some extent, they were able to scat within the confines of the song - "Mississippi Mud" is an example.

Cornettist Dick Sudhalter re-created the Whiteman sound, from the original scores, in two London concerts around 1972. They were fantastic concerts, and the huge sound that emanated from the orchestra showed how little the 78rpm recordings of the time convey the impact of the band. But it wasn't jazz = it was close to it, but not it.

Ellington - the supreme gentleman - was being kind about Whiteman, but the title was nearer to him than Whiteman.

For a better picture of how orchestrated passages could be interspersed with wonderful jazz solos, take any recording of Jelly Roll Morton and the Red Hot Peppers. The contrasting stories of Whiteman - feted to the skies - and Morton - ripped off by the (white) Melrose Brothers - makes sad reading.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:46 PM

"...and drummers.......or reed playeers? I wanna's see where you can go with this........"


                In the sense of trying to stay on topic, things seem to turn around with reeds. Pete Fountain, Benny Goodman, and
Artie Shaw played clarinets and were white, while John Coltrain and
Charlie Parker played saxaphones.

                European voices singing high notes sound like clarinets, while their lower notes sound like trombones: while African voices singing higher notes sound like trumpets, while their lower notes sound like saxaphones.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:50 PM

Azizi,

You are right that there were leaders of different types of Jazz.

The simplest way I have heard it explained is as follows.

The history of Jazz can be viewed as a succession of peaks, with different significant proponents at the top of each peak.

Each successive peak represented a new stage in the evolution of Jazz.

The genres of Jazz that you refer to above represent those stages.

So Jazz is a Genre in the same way as Classical.

The overarching umbrella of wht most people refer to as Classical music, includes a line of progression from Medieval, renaissance, and baroque, through classical, romantic, modern and postmodern composition.

Each of those stages is best exemplified by specific composers who did the best job of distilling and developing new compositional ideas that were emerging. So You have Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Stravinsky, Reich, Part etc emerging in a line from the compositinal primordial ooze, each successor being a little more advanced than his predecessor, but only as a result of his predecessors discoveries.

The same is true in Jazz, roughly beginning with Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong, (Swing) Going through Bix Beiderbeck, Duke Ellington, Fletcher henderson, Don Redmond (Birth of Big Bands), Coleman Hawkins (improvising on harmony instead of melody), Benny Goodman, Lester young, count Basie, Freddie Green (Lighter Rhythmic feel), Art Tatum , Nat King Cole (Inspirations for Bebop), Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian, (Masters of Bebop), Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell, Gil Evans, (era of cool Jazz) Lenny Tristano, Jerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, Miles Davis, (Rebirth of Modal Harmony) Miles' Children: John McLaughlin, Keith Jarret, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Bill evans (reintroduction of inversions and Red Garlands use of rootless voicings), Clifford Brown, and Max Roach (Hard Bop/Post Bop), McCoy Tyner and John Coltrane (free Jazz).


The important thing is the accumulation of knowledge and the advancement of the artform, not the ethnicity of those who have worked so hard to develop it.

It is of course important to note that Jazz musicians were not only influenced by theri predecessores in Jazz but also by their predecessors in "classical" composition and indeed their contemporaries in that genre.

Jazz has a similar history


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:50 PM

Two great black clarinettists - Johnny Dodds and Sidney Bechet...


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:50 PM

Sorry Riginslinger, but thats silly. Every instrument had and has its virtusos from both black and white communities. The clarinet as a 'white' instrument? Johnny Dodds, Alphonse Picou,Sidney Bechet, George Lewis?


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:53 PM

Terry - we're obviously on the same wavelength.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:54 PM

Stan Getz - A white sax player.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 12:58 PM

Jazz is an improvised medium, but it can be composed too and Jelly Roll morton and Gil evans are both example of Jazz composers whose work is Jazz.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:04 PM

Yes, Will - like you my original love was jazz and I even played banjo in a New Orleans type band c1960. I saw Kid Ory in London around that time and the clue to his ethnicity is probably in his band's name 'Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band.'


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:07 PM

In my book, Morton's Red Hot Peppers recordings represent the first written arrangements of tunes with passages specified for solo jazz improvisations. Jelly Roll Morton was a vain, self-opinionated hustler, a pimp and a braggadocio - but he was one of the most original pianists and arrangers of his day. Every one of his recordings is worth listening to, and the Peppers ensembles, even today, sound absolutely superb.

He was derided in later years - particularly in the 1940s - but time has reversed that opinion. We're also lucky in that Alan Lomax made his epic reordings of Morton playing and reminiscing for the Library of Congress shortly before Morton died. Lomax's book "Mr. Jelly Lord" is flawed in many ways, but is still the first proper homage to a historic musician. His publishers, the Melrose Brothers, insisted that Morton couldn't write music and, like many before and after, also insisted on getting their names on Morton's music as co-composers. Many of Morton's handwritten scores exist today...


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:10 PM

Terry - I too played (or attempted to play) tenor banjo in a vaguely mainstream jazz band in the late '70s. We used to do early Ellington and some Morton arrangements now and then. Great fun. I was recently in touch with Babette Ory - Kid Ory's daughter - about his composition "Muskrat Ramble". Strange how the years can roll back!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:40 PM

Good points, Lox--admirably comprehensive, yet concise and to the point. Given the tensions between fans of the different schools of jazz, there is more potential for conflict here than in the tedious discussions about "what is folk music?"

Duke Ellington once said something to the effect that there is a lot less improvisation in jazz than is generally imagined--and the "jazz" of the jazz age was played from arrangements, and over time, though the improvisations of soloists seem to define jazz, what it sounds like really has more to do with the arrangers, like Don Redman and Gil Evans, than anything else.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:07 PM

Thanks to those who have posted on this thread.

I'm glad to know as Lox put it that "The important thing is the accumulation of knowledge and the advancement of the artform, not the ethnicity of those who have worked so hard to develop it."

However, I dare say that this same disregard for race was not the norm among most of the jazz musicians' audiences, the nightclub owners, the radio hosts, the movie producers etc.

For instance, I suspect that although jam sessions at juke joints or wherever might occasionally be integrated, the paid gigs were rarely if ever integrated. And I suspect that the "King of Jazz" movie only featured White musicians.

Which leads me to the same conclusion that mainstream American [USA] society would have been {and probably still is to a lesser degree] unwilling to confer the title of King of Jazz on a Black man.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:07 PM

About Jelly Roll Morton--he was regarded as an anachronism in the 40's, and even before then, because his style was the "Storyville" style, which was music from a time long gone by.
Of course, for us, the jazz of the 40s is music from a time long gone by too, so that's not a bad thing--

Here is the Red Hot Jazz page--Jellyroll Morton the music files are at the bottom of the page, and they're great!--


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:14 PM

Btw, lox, I strongly disagree with your statement that "Jazz does not trace back to an african american ancestor."

I would have agreed with you if you had written that Jazz is a blending of African and European musical traditions that was first performed by African American musicians.

Is this what you meant?

See this comment from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz

"Jazz is a musical art form which originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style's West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:18 PM

Btw, though Jelly Roll Morton and some other New Orleans Creoles may have disagreed (and may still disagree), adhering to the USA's social definition of race, I categorize Creoles with Black African and non-Black African ancestry as "African Americans." Hence, as far as I (and most African Americans) are concerned, Jelly Roll Morton was a Creole and he was African American.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:19 PM

Well Azizi - two white bandleaders who conspicuously used black and white singers and musicians were Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. Shaw had huge problems when touring in the South - as you can imagine - with Billie Holiday as his vocalist. She left his band owing to pressure from the Southern audiences and the difficulty of staying in hotels, etc. Shaw persevered with a mixed band for as long as he could, and this stance does him huge credit. Shaw, incidentally, was Jewish and an intellectual. His autobiography is worth reading.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:22 PM

Sorry Azizi - just overlapped with your last post. Lomax's book about Morton makes out that there was a huge snobbery in New Orleans in the early years of the 20th century - with Creoles (some French ancestry) "looking down" upon black Americans with disdain. More up-to-date research indicates that either Morton, or more probably Lomax, grossly exaggerated this racial split to give the biography more dramatic effect.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: pdq
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:32 PM

The following statement was made:

"a lot of the famous white musicians like Kid Ory, Jack Teagarden, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey..."

I simply corrected that statement.

BTW, Jack and Charlie Teagarden were born on an Indian reservation in Texas and paid as little attention to race as possible.

Jack Teagarden has no equal on the trombone. His best work was probably done in the 1950s.

He relates to the topic in that he signed a long-term contract with Paul Whiteman which prevented him from reaching his potential as creative musician for many years.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:35 PM

Benny Goodman was also Jewish and there does seem to be some sort of affinity between Jews and African-Americans where music was concerned. Anti Semitism was, of course, common between the wars so that probably helps explain it.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 25 May 09 - 02:50 PM

Paul Whiteman also commissioned and introduced "Rhapsody in Blue" by G. Gershwin. His rendition was a lot jazzier than later versions of the piece, many of which tend to be more serious. If I repeated any previous information, I apologize.

               ============================

Azizi - It serendipitous that you posted, today, from the book of Negro folk lore. In going through my sons's belongings to sell at our quintenniel (is that every fifth year?) garage sale, I came across that very title. I set it aside for my vacation reading; it is then going into my own folk library.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:00 PM

"Which leads me to the same conclusion that mainstream American [USA] society would have been {and probably still is to a lesser degree] unwilling to confer the title of King of Jazz on a Black man."

            I'm quite certain that wouldn't be true of knowledgeable Americans. Anyone who looked into the origins of jazz, I would think, would concede that the King of Jazz would have to be someone with African roots.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Leadbelly
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:12 PM

King of jazz? A more apt sobriquet might have been "King of Dance" or "King of Show", a fact incontestably proven by a glance at any of his classy film appearances, including "King of Jazz" and many others.
Personally, I do prefer Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra. Same time, same place, same kind of music.
Concerning Paul Whiteman, it should be mentioned, that he was a very social character. Read about what he had done for poor Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke when he was unable to play his cornet in Whiteman's orchestra because of abuse of alcohol.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:18 PM

Whiteman was a generous man, as you say. He treated Bix as well as any man could, given the circumstances - and many another bandleader wouldn't have done that.

Incidentally, does anyone remember that great film "Pete Kelly's Blues", directed and starring Jack Webb of TV series "Dragnet" fame? It had Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgrald in it, among others. Gave an excellent portrayal of the sorts of band that Bix and others played in. The opening sequence of a New Orleans funeral, with the trumpet falling off the coffin, is matched by the end sequence in the empty ballroom, with a standoff between Webb and Ed O. Brien. Wish I had it on DVD...


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: pdq
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:30 PM

If we are going to mention Jean Goldkette, let's include the California Ramblers too.

Whiteman's orchestra, Goldkette's orchestra and the California Ramblers were all fine dance bands and had many fine musicians who served in more than one group. How much content was really "jazz" is a matter of opinion.

Despite the name, the California Ramblers never made it west to the Golden State.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:42 PM

I love Pete Kelly's Blues - it's cropped up on British television once or twice.

re Bix - I always liked the story that the second trumpeter (or cornettist?) in Whiteman's orchestra had 'Wake Bix up' written on his score, a few bars before the great man was scheduled to play one of his dazzling solos.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:43 PM

"Which leads me to the same conclusion that mainstream American [USA] society would have been {and probably still is to a lesser degree] unwilling to confer the title of King of Jazz on a Black man."

Mainstream America does not listen to Jazz.

Neither is mainstream America qualified to confer such titles.

Mainstream America has nothing to do with it.

Though it should be pointed out that the most loved Jazz musicians by mainstream America are Miles Davis (Kind of Blue) and before him Louis Armstrong.

There is a title of first lady which goes to Ella Fitzgerald.

In a political context, I agree wholeheartedly that Creoles are included in the category of Black/African Americans as they suffered the same indignities and were afforded the same status by their oppressors.

However, we are not talking politics here, we are talking cultural influence and geneological background, and in that respect Creoles were a mixture of cultural ingredients.

Sydney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton were Creole. Louis Armstrong was African American.

They are very much seen as the founding fathers of Jazz.

The blue note is indeed African of origin, but the Chord theory is European. There are other ingredients too that distinguish Jazz from having an African root in the same way that Blues definitely does.

Jazz without chord theory is like a house without bricks.

The subsequent evolution of Jazz includes, not additional, but essential input from white musicians. There are some Jazz commentators who suggest that white musicians were merely participating in a black artform. This is an utter untruth.

From Biderbeck to Brubeck white Jazzers have played alongside their Black brothers in perfect harmony and advanced the depth of Jazz in an essential way.

Comments regarding race within Jazz are generally made by those outside it.

Miles Davis chose Bill Evans because he was doing something new and "Down" - he didn't care whether he was white Black or blue - though he clearly decided that at the very least he was "kind of blue".

Some of the Black audiences they played for didn't take kindly to this freeloader riding into town on "their" music, but the reality is that Jazz, unlike other artforms, was owned by its performers not by its patrons.

Jazz musicians didn't care about all that, and those from the 30's and 40's who I have met could teach some of our "enlightened" youngsters a thing or two about respect for men and women of other cultures and regardless of their origin or appearance on a deep level of understanding and with a passion of genuine feeling that would be enough to make you feel truly enriched.

They were friends with the artists who were told to leave through the kitchen door and were hurt by the indignities they witnessed and would have undoubtedly been in the ranks that marched aginst the system.

Whiteman did indeed give himself that title and that fact is as important to jazz as he was ... not very... except insofar as he was a good salesman.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:09 PM

Azizi, you commented;


"Btw, lox, I strongly disagree with your statement that "Jazz does not trace back to an african american ancestor.""

By this I meant that unlike blues, Jazz has a Europen father and an African mother - or if you prefer, an African father and a European mother.


You also commented;

"However, I dare say that this same disregard for race was not the norm among most of the jazz musicians' audiences, the nightclub owners, the radio hosts, the movie producers etc."

If you return to the post you were responding to you will note this line.

"The Audiences and the Club owners were of course a different kettle of fish ... "


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:14 PM

lox, if Anglo-Americans didn't so often have the practice of not crediting African Africans for our cultural offerings, and if Anglo-Americans didn't so often appropriate* African American culture and claim if as their own, I wouldn't be so insistent about asserting race into a discussion about the origin of jazz and who is or is not considered to be the "King of Jazz".

However, given the realities of life then and now, I'm making those points, admittedly, as a person who isn't a jazz musician, jazz vocalist, jazz historian, or a particular follower of contemporary jazz or any other kind of jazz.

*
"Cultural Appropriation"

"Cultural Appropriation - refers to the process by which members of relatively privileged groups "raid" the culture of less powerful or marginalized groups, and removing [sic] cultural practices or artifacts from historically or culturally specific contexts."

— From the Glossary of the Municipal Cultural Planning Project (Canada)

http://www.culturalplanning.ca/mcpp/ib_glossary.html#c

Q. "What is cultural appropriation?

A. The textbook definition of cultural appropriation is the 'taking [a.k.a. appropriating] from a culture that is not one's own of...cultural expressions or artifacts [or] history.' Many people hold that cultural appropriation is wrong because by stealing an element from someone's culture and then representing it in a different (and often shallow) context, you both damage and dishonor the culture you have taken the ritual from."

— Body Modification Ezine FAQs http://www.bmezine.com/ritual/susp-faq.html#Q3-5
   
http://www.quakersweat.org/appropriation.html

-snip-

Also, lox, you didn't answer the question that I posed to you in my 02:14 PM post to this thread. I'll repeat that question in case you accidentally overlooked it:

"Btw, lox, I strongly disagree with your statement that "Jazz does not trace back to an african american ancestor."

I would have agreed with you if you had written that Jazz is a blending of African and European musical traditions that was first performed by African American musicians.

Is this what you meant?


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:28 PM

lox, we cross posted and I've read your answer to my question. Your response doesn't address the issue of which race performed jazz first.

And if you wanted to get technical, many African Americans have had "a Europen father and an African mother - or if you prefer, an African father and a European mother" but I understand that you meant that jazz is built on the African and European musical traditions.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:33 PM

I can't understand what the problem is. All jazz musicians/historians must surely agree that black Americans first started playing what we know as jazz. The music itself was formed from earlier forms like, among other things, ragtime and blues. Ironically, I believe the first known recording of jazz - 1917 - was by the white Original Dixieland Jazz Band, whose leader, Nick La Rocca, was of Italian origin.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:37 PM

Correction:

My sentence should read .,,"built on African and European musical traditions".


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:37 PM

Azizi,

It looks like you accidentally overlooked my last post, in which I wrote:


>>"Btw, lox, I strongly disagree with your statement that "Jazz does >>not trace back to an african american ancestor.""
>>
>>By this I meant that unlike blues, Jazz has a Europen father and an >>African mother - or if you prefer, an African father and a European >>mother.


So while blues traces directly back to an African american vocal tradition and while it uses scales with ambiguous notes that come from African musical tradition, the same cannot be said of Jazz.


Jazz has from day one been a multicultural exercise. This is probably why it went on to absorb other cultural influences into its vocabulary later on in the fusion projects of the seventies and eighties, from Indian classical to Flamenco, because it is inclusive by nature, having been born that way and as it has grown up it has naturally wanted to include music that it hasn't met before.

Truly the music of the revolution in my book.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:58 PM

"And if you wanted to get technical, many African Americans have had "a Europen father and an African mother - or if you prefer, an African father and a European mother" but I understand that you meant that jazz is built on the African and European musical traditions."

Read again Azizi.

You know I know this, as you have read comments from me explaining the logic to other people. But these are political matters.

In the quote above, you are referring to the political and social relities of being an African American, ie someone who has any degree of African blood in their veins thus rendering them inferior in the eyes of the state at that time and in the eyes of much of society to this day.

I am talking about the Geneology of a musical style.

You may justifiably argue that if all americans with any degree of african heritage should be classified in the same category then the it is double standards to take a different approach to music with a similar ancestry.

However, what is really happening there is recognition of how cruelly unfair it is that Blacks - whatever their ancestry - should suffer discrimination at all.

It does not infer ownership, either moral or actual. It puts in the spotlight just how insane the realities of slavery, segregation and racism were/are.

And if we did decide to give ownership of Jazz to Americaans only if they had a degree of African blood in their veins we would be doing a disservice to all those white musicians who helped make it what it is - and some from other countries too, like Stephan Grapelli and Django Reinhardt.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:01 PM

BTW,

I am not suggesting that you think we should give ownership to anyone, thise comments merely reflect my take on the subject.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:02 PM

Looks like I cross posted your cross (or perhaps not so cross) post.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:36 PM

Pendant time, Will - Original Dixieland Jass Band, if remember the record label correctly!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:37 PM

Ownership?? Whose talking about ownership?

And btw, I'm not cross. I like the discussion so far. For instance, my comment "And if you wanted to get technical, many African Americans have had "a Europen father and an African mother - or if you prefer, an African father and a European mother" but I understand that you meant that jazz is built on the African and European musical traditions" was written somewhat tongue in cheek.

And lox, I believe I have mentioned to you in another thread or in a private message that I write on the public forum for those who may be lurking now and in the future as well as those who are involved in the discussion.

I would say "lighten up" but then you might respond that you were rather hoping for a
sun tan :o)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:45 PM

Jass - so it wass... :-)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:48 PM

Its seems that you would rather I was seen and not heard ...

... you've obviously heard me play!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:08 PM

lox, in case your 05:48 PM comment was for me, I appreciate your contribution and the contribution of all others to this discussion.

**

Since I'm here, I'll share a link to a website about the early days of jazz:

http://www.redhotjazz.com/kingofjazz.html

Here's an excerpt from that website:

"The music called Jazz was born sometime around 1895 in New Orleans. It combined elements of Ragtime, marching band music and Blues. What differentiated Jazz from these earlier styles was the widespread use of improvisation, often by more than one player at a time. Jazz represented a break from Western musical traditions, where the composer wrote a piece of music on paper and the musicians then tried their best to play exactly what was in the score. In a Jazz piece, the song is often just a starting point or frame of reference for the musicians to improvise around. The song might have been a popular ditty or blues that they didn't compose, but by the time they were finished with it they had composed a new piece that often bore little resemblance to the original song. Many of these virtuoso musicians were not good sight readers and some could not read music at all, nevertheless their playing thrilled audiences and the spontaneous music they created captured a joy and sense of adventure that was an exciting and radical departure from the music of that time. The first Jazz was played by African-American and Creole musicians in New Orleans. The cornet player, Buddy Bolden is generally considered to be the first real Jazz musician. Other early players included Freddie Keppard, Bunk Johnson and Clarence Williams. Although these musicians names are unknown to most people, then and now, their ideas are still being elaborated on to this day. Most of these men could not make a living with their music and were forced to work menial jobs to get by. The second wave of New Orleans Jazz musicians like Joe "King" Oliver, Kid Ory and Jelly Roll Morton formed small bands that took the music of these older men and increased the complexity and dynamic of their music, as well as gaining greater commercial success. This music became known as "Hot Jazz", because of the often breakneck speeds and amazing improvised polyphony that these bands produced. A young virtuoso cornet player named Louis Armstrong was discovered in New Orleans by King Oliver. Armstrong soon grew to become the greatest Jazz musician of his era and eventually one of the biggest stars in the world. The impact of Armstrong and other Jazz musicians altered the course of both popular and Classical music. African-American musical styles became the dominant force in 20th century music".


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:13 PM

Azizi, my last comment was a poor attempt at an extension to the "lighten up" quip.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:23 PM

I have heard it said by an authoritative primary source whose name I am not at liberty to mention that Jazz can't even be said to have begun specifically in New Orleans, but that it emerged simultaneously right across the USA in numerous little pockets.

New Orleans spawned Armstrong and Bechet and they were the biggest influences on the creation of Jazz as we know it. In fact, Louis was invited to New York from Chicago by Fletcher Henderson to teach Jazzers there how to swing.

Thats why New Orleans gets the credit.

I'll have to return to this next week though as I am needed elsewhere right now.

I look forward to saeeing how this thread had developed.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,RickS
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:45 AM

A very interesting thread - a word that doesn't seem to have cropped up is 'synchopation', which characterised so much of the 'hot' dance music of the twenties, & seems to have become conflated with 'jazz' in the minds of many; my favourite 20's orchestras, the Savoy Orpheans/Havana Bands, would often spice up their otherwise-straightforward dance tunes with hot/jazzy instrumentalists (often Americans), creating an exhilarating hybrid.. perhaps Whiteman should have settled for 'King of Synchopation'?..


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:01 AM

Ah well - I would have thought that Scott Joplin should have been designated King of Syncopation. :-)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: matt milton
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:11 AM

"Paul Whiteman was known as the King of Jazz, and no one as yet has come near carrying that title with more certainty and dignity." -- Duke Ellington

I note in that quote that Duke Ellington does not in fact state that Paul Whiteman was the "king of jazz". He makes a rather fussy and over-elaborate statement about how Paul Whiteman "carried that title".

Duke Ellington had classical pretensions - writing self-proclaimed "suites", dressing suave, playing concert halls. His music more than justified them, of course – his music was a hell of a lot more interesting than Paul Whiteman's, to say the least. And those pretensions were arguably sorely needed, being one in the eye for every racist in America who saw black people as less than human.

It's funny, I'd never heard anyone refer to Paul Whiteman as "king of jazz", and even though I'm a huge jazz fan I'm only dimly aware of his music - what I've heard hasn't made me want to hear any more. I think that epithet just goes to show how quickly such hyperbolic pronouncements get dated. The history of jazz criticism has always seen some funny critical calls which with the benefit of hindsight seem totally absurd. (That, say, Thelonious Monk or Albert Ayler "couldn't play", for instance)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: matt milton
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:14 AM

As far as that kind of prettifying/gentrification of jazz goes in general, well, I don't think you can generalize. 'Charlie Parker With Strings' is an example of how not to do it - it's one of his worst. Then again, 'Sketches of Spain' is terrific. (Reminding me of yet another jazzer with more interesting compositional smarts than Whiteman - Gil Evans)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:47 AM

Hi Matt - as I commented earlier up this thread, I think Ellington was too much of a gentleman to criticise another bandleader, though I agree with you that the Duke's jazz was infinitely superior to anything Whiteman produced.

This is not to denigrate the power of Whiteman's music, which we can only hear today through very old and questionable quality recordings. The re-creation of Whiteman's scores by Dick Sudhalter in the early '70s demonstrated the huge warmth and sound of Whiteman's orchestra - and those of the period in general. It was very similar to seeing high quality black & white prints of early Keaton for the first time - staggeringly beautiful photography.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: matt milton
Date: 26 May 09 - 07:42 AM

I'll check those out and give them a go then.

I'm always keen to hear recommendations of interesting orchestrated jazz. Top of my list is Ellington, but I'm also a big fan of Count Basie, Charles Mingus' big band, Ralph Burns, Gil Evans, Sun Ra, Oliver Nelson and some of Edmond Hall's stuff.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 26 May 09 - 07:42 AM

For what it's worth, I tried to use Mudcat's internal search feature to find previous threads about jazz or comments about jazz that were in other threads. Entering the key word "jazz" resulted in no hits, but when I entered the key words "jazz songs", I got several hits. However most of them are for comments that may mention the word "jazz" but aren't
really about that musical genre. For example, here's a comment that I wrote in a thread about Marching Bands-Traditions and Aesthetics

"It seems to me that the predominately Black bands played more music from R&B, hip-hop, pop music. These tunes were usually contemporary {meaning the latest hit song} but they might also be a golden oldie {a popular "old school" song}. The predominately Black band might also play music from Black religious traditions such as a familiar gospel song or a Dixieland jazz song. Perhaps the predominately White bands also chose songs that were from their traditions-it seemed to me that they were usually classical concert type songs or more classical jazz songs

{Note: In the case of the Madison Scouts, a number of viewers of their YouTube videos mentioned that this group used to be known for playing arrangements of Latin or Jazz tunes...Perhaps that is why they were my favorite Drum & Bugle corp groups when I used to watch the televised national marching band competitions in the 1980s}.

-snip-

In contrast, here's a link to one of the few Mudcat threads about jazz that I found [Is there really so few Mudcat threads about jazz? That surprises me.]

thread.cfm?threadid=46005#680933
Kid Ory--The Jass Original

Since its relevant to our larger discussion about race and jazz, I'm going to take the liberty of reposting this comment from one of Mudcat's beloved members who is no longer with us and who I unfortunately never had the pleasure of meeting:

Subject: RE: Kid Ory--The Jass Original
From: Rick Fielding - PM
Date: 04 Apr 02 - 11:34 AM

Back in pre-history, when I was first starting to listen to "roots" music* I also noticed that several New Orleans jazz musicians in those early pictures looked quite caucasian. being 15 at the time I just figured that in New Orleans the bands must have been integrated by then. Silly me....didn't know anything about Creole backgrounds or the incredible diversity in that part of Louisiana.
One of the great 'reads' of my life was a book called "Really, The Blues", by Mezz Mezzrow. He's become one of my favourite characters. A white jewish kid from the mid-west, he was a hustler, dope dealer, band organizer, and (very shaky) clarinet player. He became totally obsessed with preserving the 'original' jazz sound, and wanted to be black so badly that he gave his race as 'negro' on driver's licenses, union cards, and passports.

He wasn't thought of too highly if you read others' accounts of the era, probably (and this is just my guess) 'cause he was a real 'in your face guy', tolerated because he supplied the grass (he called them "mezz-rolls") and often pissed off 'cause his lack of consistent musical skills got him bounced from a lot of bands....UNTIL......

He moved to Europe.....and The French LOVED him! He hooked up with Sidney Bechet and had quite a successful recording carreer into the forties.

His connection with Ory? (other than the fact that they knew each other well) Ory was a great ensemble player but often on recordings his solos were thought to be pretty unimaginative. Like Mezzrow, the Kid was at his best live, apparently.

I'm paraphrasing from some of the writings of Lil Armstrong, Eddie Condon, and Danny Barker.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 26 May 09 - 07:54 AM

I hasten to say that I really am not clear about what I meant by "Dixieland jazz song" (other than a jazzed up version of "When The Saints Go Marching In" and "classical jazz song".
Maybe the latter is what matt milton,Rick S and others mean by "orchestrated jazz". But if I had to think of an example of an orchestrated jazz song by name, I'm so unfamiliar with jazz that I couldn't do so.

That said, I had the pleasure of experiencing a concert of Sun Ra and his orchestra in Newark, New Jersey (either 1967 or 1968). The thing I remember the most about that concert was the theatrics and the loud mishmash of sounds. I knew that it was an Experience with a capital "E", but I can't say that I was/am a   fan of Sun Ra.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:04 AM

Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain" was mentioned above thread. That's one album I've heard. Here's a link to a YouTube video of an unnamed orchestra playing that music:

ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CZFnyXwlV4
Sketches of Spain

"The 5th movement, performed Live in Chicago."

**

Also, here's a link to a YouTube video of Miles Davis & Gil Evans 1959:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFaK4q0pxcQ&feature=related

"Miles Davis and Gil Evans in 1959. In this video only the last song (New Rumba) is missing".


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 May 09 - 10:33 AM

Azizi,

Paul Whiteman was emphatically not the King of Jazz. It was a PR statement.
He had some very good jazz musicians in his band notably Bix Beiderbecke and
Eddie Lang (Salvatore Massaro) who was a great influential acoustic jazz guitarist,
Mike Pinkatore on banjo and a classical arranger Ferde Grofe who was known for the "Grand Canyon Suite". Joe Venuti (great jazz violinists) was also in the band.

There is a video(short movie) called King of Jazz which is very good in that it displays
Eddie Lang's talent, Harry Barris and the Rhythm Boys singing "Happy Feet" featuring the unknown at the time Bing Crosby (who could sing jazz).

Basically, this band was the precursor of swing bands and less representative of the Dixie/New Orleans tradition of small ensemble playing.

As to the origin of what we call jazz, New Orleans was definitely the spawning place.
Lulu White and the Mahogany Hall whorehouse employed many jazz musicians and if you think about "jazz" (originally jass) and "rock", both are sexual euphemisms.

The first commercial recording of trad jazz was "The Original Dixieland Jass Band in the 1900's. Later, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and Louis Armstrong's Hot Five (and Seven).
The ODJB were responsible for the term "Dixieland" to describe what they played.

Sidney Bechet was not a nice man. He killed a prostitute in Paris and got off because of his reputation. He used to chase Mesirow around with a loaded gun. He played well.
His vibrato could be considered to be a little too much. Lots of imagination, though.



I caution you to be careful about some of the comments of other musicians about certain players. Jazz musicians tend to be highly opinionated about their likes and dislikes.
Anyone who achieves stature in the jazz world has got to be a great musician. The music requires it.

When it comes to tradition New Orleans style jazz, there is a lot of passion about it and
strong opinions. Leonard Feather can't be trusted to make an evaluation that is very objective. He's too influenced by be-bop and modern jazz. His comments on Jelly Roll Morton and Django Reinhardt are a case in point. The famous story is how Miles Davis sat in with Bob Scobey and the Yerba Buena Jazz Band (a San Francisco trad jazz revival band).
Someone came up to MIles and criticized him for sitting in with a "moldy fig" band.
Miles said, "You've been reading that ass hole Leonard Feather, haven't you?"

The best thing as in folk music is to do a lot of listening and come to your own conclusions. Jazz criticism is an oxymoron.

John Coltrane is certainly another musican who has influenced jazz. Miles changed his style of playing after working with Trane.

Creole by definition is a branch of African-American. Labels certainly obscure genetic and racial aspects.

Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker were two of the most important figures in jazz because their playing changed the course of American jazz. Many of the swing bands of the Thirties incorporated the solo style of playing that Armstrong created and the arrangements of the bands reflect Louis' style o playing specifically. Parker did the same thing as a potent influence on the musicians around him.

Kid Ory (unimaginative)? Ridiculous. He was one of the great early New Orleans trombone "shouters" defining the tailgate style of playing with Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five.
He played elegant simple but tasteful solos such as on "West End Blues" and had a driving style like "Big" Jim Robinson and Honore Dutrey (with Jelly Roll's Red Hot Peppers). It was classic New Orleans style.

Just as in folk music, there is a lot of disinformation out there. You can take much of what you read with a grain of salt. Jazz criticism is a lot like folk criticism. Opinions galore but the real substance of understanding comes from personal listening and experience.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 May 09 - 10:45 AM

Azizi,
Regarding the issue of White Jazz and Black Jazz, I think it would be safe to say that the real inspiration for the origination of jazz comes from the black musicians of New Orleans.
That where the ODJB got their inspiration although in New Orleans, there were white musicians who played in the style.

Jazz has always been cross-racial and cross-cultural in application. Louis refused to play in a band that wasn't integrated in his later years. He also was disgusted with what New Orleans had become in it's takeover by white racists in its politics. He never wanted to go back. Jazz blurs the racial lines (thank goodness) and the only segregation occurs not among the musicians but the usual political forces that guide bookers and non-musicians. The ODJB had racist comments to make about the role of the black musician but they can be treated as a product of neanderthal thinking.

Any jazz musician worthwhile today has to acknowledge the role of both black and white influences in jazz.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 May 09 - 10:52 AM

M. Ted, what you say about arrangements apply more to ensemble playing but the solos are not always as premeditated. Pops had a unique solo approach as did Bird. The Duke was primarily an arranger and bandleader which would have influenced his opinion. Jelly Roll also controlled the arrangements in his band "The Red Hot Peppers" but there are classic solos such as Omer Simeon on "Dr. Jazz" which reflect spontaneity and originality. There are cliches that are built up by every player but they are changed in their application in their solo work. This is why Bird was able to influence so many as was Louis.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:03 AM

Frank,

Thank you for your comments. As always, I'm honored to have the opportunity to learn from you and from others who know what they are talking about from direct experiences and not just from reading.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: pdq
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:36 AM

Just a minor point for Stringsinger...

The Yerba Buena Jazz Band was the vision of Lu Watters who wanted to keep New Orleans style Jazz alive. He put in about a decade or so, until it became work rather than fun. Watters retired about 1950 and both his trumpet palyer, Bob Scobey, and his trombone player "Turk" Murphy formed their own bands.

Your story is probably about a visit to Scobey's group called the Frisco Jazz Band. Scobey died at 46 from cancer.

"Turk" Murphy continued to work for a long time. He was the king of Traditional Jazz in the SF Bay Area. He also died of a cancer, but at 71.

You would probably like the concert that Barbara Dane did about 1963 when she talked Lu Watters into putting together a group to back her in a concert to protest Marincello, a huge housing developement that would have spoiled a large part of Marin County. The developement was killed. A rare victory for protest singing. Perhaps the Jazz helped.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 26 May 09 - 01:16 PM

From the 20s ("The Jazz Age") though the big-band era of the 40s, the word "jazz" was generally applied to the "mainstream" popular dance music of the day. It was not until the post-war be-bop era that jazz became something of a specialized taste, appealing only to a small and supposedly sophisticated audience.

Paul Whiteman was indeed "king," for a time, of the popular music known as jazz, because he had the network (radio) contracts and he made enough money to pay the highest wages to players, pretty much assuring himself the best available musicians.

Well, the best white jazz musicians, anyway, but that's because of the prevailing culture ~ Paul Whiteman didn't invent racial segregation, he just functioned within its boundaries. Jazz musicians in general (including even bandleaders!) have always been among the least racist people in our society, because they've always played together, offstage if not on, and recognized that their fellow players' talents have nothing to do with race.

Paul Whiteman commissioned George Gershwin to write Rhapsody in Blue, and arranged for its debut performance at a prestigious venue (Carnegie Hall, if I'm not mistaken); think about that for a minute. Most of us undoubtedly recognize what a hugely important figure Gershwin was and is in 20th century American music ~ but there was a time when Paul Whiteman was more influential and more powerful than even Gershwin.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: meself
Date: 26 May 09 - 01:43 PM

I thought Jelly Roll Morton invented jazz one Sunday afternoon in 1907 ...


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 26 May 09 - 02:36 PM

I'd just like to say that I have never read one word written about Jazz.

I've learned the slow way by listening and I've been very deeply privileged to meet a couple of the old guard.

When you are talking about Jazz history and the person you are learning from tells you what "we did" as opposed to what "they did" you feel like you have a phone back to 1935.

I agree that conversations are limited not helped by value judgements and I like the Miles Davis quote concerning figs ...

He was someone who, while producing art albums that, unbeknownst to him at the time, would revolutionize jazz, at the same time was quite happy to perform a bit of bebop.

Jazz is like classical - you have to know what came before if you are to be able to make any claim to knowing whats going on.

A standing joke is about the Avant Garde musician who one day, whilst banging out his usual random dissonances, "discovers" a major triad.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 26 May 09 - 02:36 PM

Lots of interesting stuff is brought to this thread. Taking all the academic study and analysis out of the equation, though, leaves you with the sounds. Music is ever-evolving and reflective of the times in which it is made. To look back through a 21st century prism in reviewing and evaluating the performers of 50 or 100 years ago must be a seductive enterprise - so many engage in it.

I have been privileged to see, in small clubs, some of the great jazz musicians of the forties, fifties and sixties - Charlie Byrd, Yusef Lateef, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Jonah Jones, Cal Tjader, Terry Gibbs, Gerald Wilson, the Oscar Peterson Trio (with Ed Thigpen and Ray Brown)and Mose Allison, among others. They're all great to me, though I am sure I'd get arguments on their merits from some. I'm no historian, though I respect the roots of the music and those who helped it along. My first musical "idol" was trombonist Jack Teagarden. His playing and vocalizing influenced me as a folk singer, of all things.

Paul Whiteman was the "500 pound gorilla" in the music business in his heyday. He helped to make jazz, at least in some form, available to the masses who had not really heard it. A lot of them sought it out and helped popularize it as a direct result. I think jazz, in a weird way, is neither black nor white, but beige.

I am a listener and fan - a dedicated "eclecticist," if such a word exists. I love certain sounds and seek them out, in many genre. Labels don't do much for me, but the music sure does.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 09 - 10:09 AM

This thread inspired me to actually read a book that I bought from a used book store some years ago Martin William's Jazz Masters of New Orleans (New York;The Macmillian Company, 1967.

Here is an excerpt from that book's introduction:

"As any history of the music will tell us, jazz started in New Orleans.

Surely it must have, for in 1917 a group of musicians from New Orleans suddenly found themselves a success in New York City, playing a music they had learned there. On their records, they were called "Dixie Jass Band" and later "Original Dixieland Jazz Band." And a few years earlier, it turns out, the Original Creole Orchestra, from New Orleans, had been playing the same style on the Orpheum Theater circuit"...

p. xi

-snip-

While reading this book, I finally "got" that the word "original" in the name "Original Dixieland Jazz Band" was added to promote the tale that these musicians were the original creators of the music called jass/jazz.

..."the [Nick] LaRocca group, which was by now appearing at the Casino Gardens as the Dixie Jass Band.

Soon after, a booker approached Brown for another New York job, but his group had dissolved by then and he recommended the LaRocca group. Thus on January 15 the "Dixie Jasz (sic) Band" opened in a club called the Paradise in New York...At first business was hardly sensational. Apparently, the management had trouble persuading the public that the music was supposed to be danced to, but it hung on. It had two other ballrooms in the building offering waltzes which helped to pay the freight. And by the end of the year nightclubbers were flocking to Reinsenweber's third floor; the Paradise club had become fashionably "in," and had raised its prices and the band's pay. Soon an electric sign outside read "The Original Dixieland Band-Creators of Jazz."
pp 29-30.


-snip-

Author Martin William also asserts that the ODJB frequently "borrowed" from other bands and musicians.

"The group was first recorded by Columbia, then Victor, then Aeolian, but the Victory record of Livery Stable Blues and Dixie Jass Band One Step (later Original Dixieland One-Step) was the seller. The former title was apparently responsible for its huge success. It featured rooster sounds from Shields' clarinet, cow moos from Edwards, and horse whinneys ( out of Freddy Keppard's lighter moments, the old timer's say) from Ka Rocca. The public thought the music was hilarious. And so, in a sense it was. But to any who knew its sources, the effect of its reception and popularity must have painfully ironic. And it's Keppard's Creole Band, by the way, that Jelly Roll Morton as the direct origin of the O.D.J.B.'s style.

The recordings put the O.D.J.B. repertory on wax. The tunes were each made up of several parts or strains, a form modeled on ragtime pieces, but played differently, and many of them, according to musicians still down home, borrowed from the repertory of the colored bands of New Orleans...

p. 30

This is from a foot note found on that same page:   

It might be further noted that the melody of Barnyard Blues or Livery Stable Blues is taken from Stephen Adam's hymn, The Holy City; that the first strain of Fidgity Feet echoes At a Georgia Cam[ Town Meeting (1897); the third stain of Dixieland One-Step echoes That Teasin' Rag (1909); that the main strain to At The Jazz Ball uses the chords to Shine On Harvest Moon; and that Tiger Rag has the same chords as Sousa's National Emblem March.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 31 May 09 - 10:17 AM

Fascinating stuff, Azizi. It's ironic that, when the ODJB travelled to play in England, music hall stars of the day, particularly George Robey, wanted them taken off the music hall bills for playing degenerate music. I wish dear old George could have heard Buddy Bolden, King Oliver and Morton!

Have you read "Mr. Jelly Lord" by Alan Lomax, and "They All Played Ragtime" by Rudi Blesh? The Lomax book is flawed, to be sure, but still very interesting for how Morton was ripped off by the white publishing establishment and "rubbished" by some later musicians and bandleaders. The Blesh book is interesting for a similar reason - to show how the elegance and intricacy of ragtime by the original black composers (particularly Joplin) became flashy, simplified and debased by later, more commercial composers.

I must go back to my bookshelf and have a re-read...!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 09 - 10:42 AM

The first chapter of Martin William's book Jazz Masters of New Orleans is titled "Buddy The King". "Buddy" is the cornetist Charles "Buddy" Bolden.

Here are two quotes that preface that chapter:

He'd [Buddy Bolden] take one note and put to or three to it. He began to teach them-not by the music -just by the head. ... They had lots of band fellows could play like that after Bolden gave ;em the idea.
-Wallace Collins

Bolden cause all that. ... He cause these younger Creoles, men like Betchet and Kepplard, to have a different style from old heads like Tio and Perez.
-Paul Dominguez

p. 1

William's writes that ..."Bolden was "King" to the populace by their own proclamation, and "a man who started it all" in New Orleans jazz to the musicians. So what he did was give the music a dramatic, secular focus, both for his audiences and for its present and future practitioners.

p. 3

As to the music traditions which influenced Buddy Bolden, Williams writes

"Buddy Bolden was seven years old when the dances at [New Orleans'] Congo Square were stopped.We can assume that, like nearly everyone else, he was present at the first outings in the area that was to become Lincoln Park*. Marshall Sterns conjectures that he attended "underground" vodun meetings. We know that he was a Baptist and that Negro Baptist musical culture was well established. He grew up with brass bands and parades all around him. (And it is worth remarking here that "cutting contests" between local "star" cornetists are traditionally a part of American Sunday afternoon band concerts.) Mutt Carey has declared that Bolden took basic musical lessons from the celebrations at "a holy roller church".**...

Bolden's career was short-incredibly short in view of its importance. He was born, in 1868, a child of the Emancipation, and he had become a celebrity at least by 1895. He did not die until 1931, but he was committed to the East Louisiana State Hospital on June 5, 1907, eventually diagnosed as a paranoid, and he stayed there the rest of his life".

pp. 10, 11

* "Lincoln Park was a recreational, and music listening/dancing area that took the place of of Congo Square when the city closed that area.

** "holy roller" is a colloquial term for the evangelical Christian denomination Church of God In Christ (COGIC) that is known, among other things, for its exuberant music.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 09 - 10:46 AM

Sorry about the italic font. At least it's not bold {font].

**

Will, I've not read either of those two books. Even if they are flawed, it sounds like they're worth the read since you never know what historical gems you can find even in books that are biased.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 09 - 11:08 AM

Corrections:

"And it is Keppard's Creole Band, by the way, that jelly Roll Morton offered as the direct origin of the O. DlJ.B.'s style."

.."the first strain of Fidgity Feet echoes At a Georgia Camp Town Meeting (1897)"

**

Here's another quote from William's Jazz Masters of New Orleans :

"Music historian Wilfred Mellers puts the case in extreme terms in comparing the O.D.J.B records to those of Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver. At the same time, he touched on a psychological truth that most white Americans have still to deal with:

"The wildness of the blues, the tension of the heterophony, have vanished, leaving only a eupeptic jauntiness. Oliver makes something positive, even gay, out of a painful reality; the Dixieland Band, purging away both passion and the irony, leave is with the inane grin of the black-faced minstrel. The brassy, reedy sonority of the Negro band- which can be simultaneously hard as nails and warmly sensitive-becomes a footling tootle; the perpetual jigging of the dotted rhythm becomes a jerking of puppets. All that comes over as genuine is an element of pathos beneath the merriment. If there was pathos in the vivacity of the Negro rags*, it is sadder still to find white men-with or without blackened faces, wearing the same mask. The pathos is for the most part extra-musical."

Mellers is speaking about the music's effect, of course, and a comparative effect at that, which (for Oliver's group at least) is out of historical order and context. But perhaps one is not right to hurl personal recriminations at the members of the O.D.J.B. Perhaps they did not deliberately "purge away" anything. They may have played honestly what they felt, understood, and could play, by and large. If their music had the social function of sentimentalizing an urgent Negro idiom for the benefit of whites, how far can one go in blaming them personally?"

pp 32-33

*When I first read this I thought that "rags" referred to tattered clothes. But then I remembered that I was reading a book about early jazz. It therefore seems most likely that in this context, the word "rags" refers to "ragtime music".


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: pdq
Date: 31 May 09 - 11:49 AM

"...But perhaps one is not right to hurl personal recriminations at the members of the O.D.J.B. Perhaps they did not deliberately "purge away" anything. They may have played honestly what they felt, understood, and could play, by and large. If their music had the social function of sentimentalizing an urgent Negro idiom for the benefit of whites, how far can one go in blaming them personally?"


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 31 May 09 - 11:58 AM

*When I first read this I thought that "rags" referred to tattered clothes. But then I remembered that I was reading a book about early jazz. It therefore seems most likely that in this context, the word "rags" refers to "ragtime music".

The popular notion of the derivaton of ragtime is from the concept of "ragged time" - i.e. the syncopation of the music. However, a more modern theory is that it derives from the habit of the dancers - the cakewalkers - getting dressed in their best clothes, i.e. their "glad rags" to dance and socialise to the music. It's difficult to know which is correct, but both are interesting possibilities.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 May 09 - 07:54 PM

JUST AN ASIDE;

Azizi,
I have heard that Yusef Lateef once got his wife angry at him and she yelled at him, "Lateef, go screw Yusef!"

(Could that be true? ;-)

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 May 09 - 08:24 PM

My opinion: Bechet was probably one of the first Klezmer clarinetists.


Bix never could read music. He was simply a "natural" musician who could play just about anything just by jumping in and playing by ear pretty much. Because he couldn't read music, he wasn't allowed in the Union. That meant no cabaret card in New York--and without the card, he wasn't allowed to play. It drove him nuts for years. 'Twas one of the reasons he drank.

Red Rodney (white) was playing trumpet in a be-bop combo of Charlie Parker's when they toured the southern bars. To have a white guy playing with blacks was verboten down there then. So Bird told the cops that Rodney was an albino----and it worked. Clint Eastwood directed the film biography of Charlie Parker ("BIRD") and featured this incident prominently. Forrest Whittaker played Bird.

I listen to more jazz than not these days. Too many memories in folk stuff I guess.

Just some interesting snippets.

Art


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 31 May 09 - 08:51 PM

Beautiful snippets thanks Art,

Keep 'em coming.


I finally invested in a book - the picador book of Jazz.

I'll start reading it next week.

When I'm in college on wednesday I'll see what resources there are on this subject.

I anticipate discovering a big fat hairy debate!!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 31 May 09 - 09:50 PM

By the way, something that has been bugging me is the sound that Sydney Becheet makes ...

... I never paid attention to what instrument the sleeve said he played, but i always assumed it was a soprano sax as I play the clarinet and I have never heard one sound like Bechet sounds.

I don't know the ter "Kletzmer clarinet" so I don't know iff this is what is meant by that term, but i did have a look online for Bechet to see what he plays and I found this.

Sit back and Enjoy one of western musics great innovators.

Bechet on Soprano Sax

My money is on him being the one in the white suit.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 31 May 09 - 09:59 PM

Aha - here he is on clary ...


sadly not a video but beautiful nonetheless!!


And there ain't nothing bad about his band either.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 31 May 09 - 10:11 PM

Art, a jazzman's wife getting angry at him? Never happen.

:o)

**

Moving right along, and speaking about the King of Jazz, check out this excerpt from Jazz Masters of New Orleans:

"After Bunk Johnson's death, Louis Armstrong disclaimed that he had been "his teacher" and declared that Joe Oliver was still his idol and "the King". But New Orleans players knew that Bunk was in no formal sense Armstrong's "teacher", and if Armstrong had learned basic lessons from Oliver, nevertheless Armstrong had heard Johnson, followed him and tried to emulate him, his tone, his vibrato, his ideas, as Armstrong himself said. They declared that Armstrong's first recorded solo, on Canal Street Blues with Oliver, came from Johnson's blues playing. And they knew, more importantly perhaps, that Bunk Johnson had brought an important technical knowledge of music, of the cornet, of harmony (particularly inverted and diminished chords) into New Orleans jazz at an early stage. And they knew that the more relaxed, legato phrasing of Armstrong, of Buddy Petit, and of Oliver himself when he was using it rhythmically reached back, not so much to Buddy Bolden and Freddy Keppard, but to the tradition of the second cornet founded by Bunk.

"If it wasn't for Louis Armstrong", a New Orleans musician has remarked, "everybody would be phrasing like Henry Busse". If it hadn't been for Bunk Johnson, one might add, perhaps Louis Armstrong would too."

pp 225-226

-snip-

For more information on Buddy Bolden, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_Bolden

For more information on Bunk Johnson, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunk_Johnson

For more information on Joe "King" Oliver, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Oliver

For more information on Louis Armstrong, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Armstrong


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 12:37 PM

Azizi, Louis didn't get that much from Bunk. There were plenty of NO trumpet players around that could have influenced Louis. All you have to do is listen to the two styles of playing to know this.

Louis would never have sounded like Busse, Bunk or no Bunk. Jazz criticism is a lot of bunk period. The best index into the study of jazz is your own ears.

The idea that Whiteman was the "King of Jazz" is not only ridiculous but denegrating to the musicians who really played the music. If it wasn't for Bix, Lang, Venuti, Pinkatore and many of the real jazz musicians in that band, Whiteman would be a footnote in jazz history.As it was, the trumpet section had a note on their scores to wake Bix up at measure 43.

Diminished seventh chords were not a staple of the more folk-based early jazz. They were approximated to a limited degree by the early N.O. marching bands since they were used in Sousa Marches etc. But Bunk didn't do much with them. But Louis did.
Actually George Lewis did more with them then Bunk. Bunk's style was typical of the time, a strong lead centered around the tune to hold the band together with an absence of the solo of which Louis Armstrong was the pioneer.

King Oliver was Louis' main influence in Chicago. Also, Louis' mighty chops came out of his playing on the riverboats.

PDQ, I know Barbara. She is very knowledgeable. I've heard her many times.

Azizi, there is a fine six-string banjo player, Johnny St. Cyr who Louis loved. His accompaniment on "Heebie Jeebies" is innovative. I think that Django probably had heard him and might have induced him to take up the six-string banjo prior to the guitar.

Art, I don't hear any "schmaltz" from Bechet like you do with Benny Goodman. His wide New Orleans vibrato sounds different than the "krechts" you hear in Klez. I think Bechet's best work is earlier with the bands from N.O. although the French probably would not agree with me. The word out on "Bird" (the movie) is that Eastwood picked the worst day in Bird's life to depict it. Bird had a terrific sense of humor (evidenced in his playing) that was lost in Clint's gloomy story. Bird loved Woody Woodpecker and quoted him in his playing on occasion. Two major tragedies as junkies were Bird and Bill Evans, superlative musicians.

Aziz, the ODJB were out and out racists. They may have popularized black music ala Elvis to the white public but despite the fact they played well were not really representative of the New Orleans style of early jazz. Bix studied La Rocca but did far more with it. Bix might be credited for the so-called "modern" style of jazz which borrowed from the musical French impressionists such as Ravel and Debussey. His piano solo "In A Mist"
even predates Gershwin and has an unusual sophisticated and clairvoyance for it's time.

Jazz criticism is almost an oxymoron. Sometimes you have to take the oxy out.

The best thing is to really listen to the music. It tells you everything.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 01:16 PM

Sidney Bechet was a clarinet player first, and then adopted the soprano sax, which is a very similar* instrument. By the time he had become firmly and permanently settled in France, he had largely switched over from clarinet to soprano, and was arguably the first jazz soprano player.

(*For those who don't already know: the standard soprano sax is straight like a clarinet, not bent like the other saxophones ~ although there is such a thing as a soprano shaped like a standard sax; it looks like a miniature instrument.)

I think it's pretty harsh to pass judgement on the ODJB as "out and out racists." How can we know that? They obviously loved black music enough to adopt it as their own, and were the first to bring the music of Black New Orelans to the rest of the world. At this late date, there's no way for us to know what was in the heart and mind of each individual band member, whether or not his affection for the music extended to respect for black people, etc.

I suppose that we can make our own judgements about how well they understood the music they had set out to emulate, but then we don't have recordings of jazz being played by anyone earlier than the ODJB, black, white, or Creole. So, we'd only be guessing about how faithfully the white guys were recreating the sound of jazz as it existed at that very early stage of development.

We do know (from letters, oral history, etc.) that white musicians played with the first generation of black jazz players, but only in "private" jam sessions, house parties, etc. Integrated bands could not legally appear in public in Louisiana at that time ~ in fact, not until the early 1970s (!?!)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 01:41 PM

Frank, I know that the best way to really knowjazz (and any other music) for non-musicians/vocalists like me is to listen to lots of it.

But if there weren't discussion threads like this one, there'd be a lot of interesting stories and opinions that I (and others) wouldn't be able to read and learn from. And I (we) wouldn't know which musicians/vocalist to look up (and look up to).

I guess the key is knowing what is truth and what is fiction. Knowing that experienced musicians such as yourself consider most jazz criticism to be moronic helps to make me more cautious about what I read.

Maybe that book I've been quoting from isn't the truth and nothing but the truth. But it has added to an interesting discussion.

I look forward to more insights and opinions (are they the same thing?) from you and from all other posters to this thread.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 01 Jun 09 - 11:19 PM

Hi all,

I've been enjoying reading this discussion. Azizi started this thread in response to the one about Elijah Wald's new book, which has a chapter called "The King of Jazz," about Paul Whiteman.

The book isn't out yet, but from my reading of the synopsis and from what I know of Elijah Wald's writing, my guess is that the title of the chapter is ironic, and doesn't necessarily reflect Elijah Wald's opinion about Whiteman.

Just thought I'd throw that in there.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 07:19 AM

I've always been a Fred Fauntleroy man myself.

Fred developed his chops in colliery bands of the South-East Northumbrian coalfield in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. The first evidence we have of him as an actual band-leader is when Fred Fauntleroy and his Gay Serenity Twentieth Century Orchestra play at the wedding of the Wetherstone twins Eustace and Edwin at Coldharbour Castle (as the hall was then still known) on Saturday the 12th of May 1906 - after which his presence is felt right up to his death in the fire that razed Coldharbour Hall on the night of June 21st 1952. Eyewitness accounts have him singing the ballad of Tam Lin self-accompanied on a musical-saw (and playing solos on a Tibetan thigh-bone trumpet) during the Halloween festivities at Coldharbour Hall in 1928. In an age before 'World Music', 'Free-Jazz' and such-like 'Exotica' - even before 'Folk Music' - Fred Fauntleroy was passionately ploughing his own idiosyncratic furrow, unrecorded but for a limited number of disks of his arrangement of Irving Berlin's Monkey-Doodle-Doo (as featured in the Four Marx Brother's hit stage show & debut movie The Cocoanuts) were issued in 1929, although without the twenty-minute 'jungle-music' interlude that made this such a hit with the bright young things who attended the Easter Ball at Coldharbour that same year. As singer Kathleen Carr recalls in her 1953 memoir Monkey-Doodle-Don't:

"We recorded it in the pillar-hall of the New House - Coldharbour Also - not the Hall as has been reported elsewhere. Fred was quite beside himself over the disappearance of his echo-cornet for which the arrangement was specifically scored. Rumour had it that it was taken by Caedmon Cuckfield, but as this was proved false, Fred was forced to make do with the old silver shepherd's crook cornet he used to play in the colliery band - which wasn't too bad in the event, just a little culturally displaced that's all. Not that Fred wasn't proud of his roots, just a little uncomfortable with them - no doubt wary least they spring up again and drag him down with the rest of what Mr Marx laughingly called the proletariat."

For more on Coldharbour Hall (&c.) see Coldharbour : A Brief History as of 1911.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 07:57 AM

Hello Eve Goldberg.

For the record ,(if you will excuse the unintended pun), the chapter title from Elijah Wald's book was the inspiration for this discussion. By no means should this thread be considered badmouthing that book which I fully intend to read, and which I'm sure other posters to this thread intend to read.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 08:32 AM

I forgot a "but" in that post but you can assume it's there.

Speaking of which, I was surprised by the mention of "Funky Butt" in that Jazz Masters of New Orleans book

"...Bolden's singer, Lorenzo Stall, would offer these words to the melody known (still known) traditionally along the Mississippi as Funky Butt, known commercially as a theme in St. Louis Tickle, and known in New Orleans as Buddy Bolden's Blues".

-snip-

I think there was also some mention in that book of a nightclub named the "Funky Butt". I wonder if the "Funky Butt" song had a particular dance movement associated with it which was called the"Funky Butt"and if it looked anything like the 1988 hit R&B song by Experience Unlimited (EU) "Da Butt" (also given as "Doin Da Butt" and "Doing The Butt"). That song was featured in a Spike Lee movie whose name escapes me, but that YouTube video was recently pulled. Here's another video of that dance as performed in a school talent show:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1tkEHI3_cM

In case anyone is interested, the words to that song are found here.

Does anyone know where I can find the words to that Bolden's "Funky Butt" song and more information about it, including its date?


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 10:11 AM

Azizi,

You should take better care where you put your but ...


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 10:25 AM

My mother used to say "But me no buts" (meaning don't make any excuses).

Already this morning I messed up by leaving a word out of a sentence and by not closing out the HTML command for changing the font to italics back to the regular font (whatever it's called).

What in the world will I do next?

:o)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 10:35 AM

100


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 12:28 PM

*sigh*

I've seen it so many times before ...

it starts with an "innocent" interest in Jazz - and suddenly its all out of control ...

You'll be 'lol'-ing next ...


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 12:50 PM

Well, Lox, my ex-husband was a jazz musician. So I'm not that innocent about jazz nor am I that innocent about a certain other things which need not be mentioned here.

[Should I say LOL? Naw.]


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 12:54 PM

Ahah!!

I did it- my third posting mistake of the day and all on this thread. I meant to remove the word "a" from the second sentence of my post which preceded this one. But I was so concerned that I get the italic font right, that I forgot to remove that word. That sentence should read

So I'm not that innocent about jazz nor am I that innocent about certain other things which need not be mentioned here.

Not that this has anything to do with the subject of this thread.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 01:05 PM

BTW, I'm curious about other nobility tag names or nobility titles that were conferred on jazz musicians.

I know about "King Oliver", but don't know if he chose that name or other people gave it to him because of his musical stature.

And I read somewhere that Nat "King" Cole was given his nickname from a drunken patron who joked about the Mother Goose rhyme "Old King Cole/was a merry ole soul". Is that true?

What other jazz musicians had king tag names, nicknames, or titles?

Off the top of my head I can think of one-Duke Ellington.

So how did Edward Kennedy Ellington become "Duke Ellington"?


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 01:12 PM

Re: "Funky Butt" ~

Mississippi John Hurt played and recorded a version of "Funky Butt Blues" that includes, as the final verse:

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden shout
Open up the windows and let the bad air out
'Cuz I don't like it nohow.

Now, the song "Buddy Bolden's Blues," as performed by any number of traditional-jazz players and bands in New Orleans, includes the musical phrase that consitiutes each verse of the John Hurt version, but also includes an additional few lines of melody per verse.

(I taught myself the MJH song last year during evacuation for Hurricane Gustav; when I'm playing that song ~ that abbreviated version ~ it's hard for me to think of the other phrase that is included in the trad-jazz song. Someday, I'd like to incorporate "the rest of the song" into my guitar arrangement.)

I'm pretty sure there was a "Funky Butt Hall" in New Orleans back in the 1880s/90s, a place where some of the very first jazz was played. (You could look it up in the various early-jazz history books.) The name of the venue seems to have been derived from the human stink emanating from a crowded floor of enthusisatic dancers, sweating in the New Orleans heat back in those pre-air-conditioning days. However, the lyrics to the song seem to be about, er, um, flatulence. Maybe the management served red beans and the dancers were sweating and farting...

More recently, a contemporary nightclub called the Funky Butt was operating on North Rampart Street,on the edge of the French Quarter and just across the street from Congo Square/Armstrong Park. The club reopened for a while after Katrina, but has gone out of business since then.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 02:03 PM

Many stories about Buddy Bolden, and about Funky Butt; it is possible that one or two might have some truth to them.

Several stories (One of the sites linked below) say that one of Bolden's sidemen (names change) heard someone singing:
Thought I heard Miss Suzie shout
Open the window and let the breeze blow out.
He took the phrase and made up "Funky Butt"

Many 'verses,' changed at the whim of the singer, perhaps only the first stayed constant. The form comparable to a chantey, or some work songs.

One that may be close to the original may be heard here (Don't have time to transcribe it now): Funky Butt Jazz Band

The one started by PoppaGator is close:
Mississippi John Hurt, recorded for Library of Congress:

I thought I heard somebody say
(Guitar answers) [I think a horn in Bolden's]
Funky Butt, Stinky Butt, take it away
'cause I don't like it nohow.

See that girl with the red dress on
(Guitar answers)
Funky butt, funky butt, sure as you're born,
well. I don't like it nohow.

You see that girl with the blue dress on,
(guitar answers)
She got stinky butt, funky butt, leave it alone
'Cause I don't like it nohow.
[etc., there is more but I don't have Hurt's recording.

Funky Butt

The dance seems to be a later innovation. The site www.streetswing.com also is unavailable today; it has the story.

Another verse- forgotten the source:
I thought I heard Judge Fogarty say
Give him thirty days, take him away.
Give him an old broom to sweep with, take him away.

More will be found with google. Does any recording exist with Bolden's version? He went insane before 1910 and spent many years in the asylum, where he died.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 02:39 PM

"etc., there is more but I don't have Hurt's recording."

The MJH recording I have has exactly those three verses you quote, plus the "Buddy Bolden" final verse I quoted above. In between, he plays an instumental-only verse and another verse where he just sings fragments of the lyric.

I've also heard, elsewhere, the verse about hearing the "Judge say . . . take him away." Not always named Fogarty. This is a thoroughly folk-processed song!

Incidentally, "(guitar answers)" could be inserted, correctly, after the second line of each verse as well as the first.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 02:48 PM

The version I heard from Jelly Roll Morton's (I think) L. of C. recordings:

"Thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,
He's dirty, he's nasty, take him away.
Dirty nasty stinky butt, take him away,
I thought I heard him say.

Thought I heard Buddy Bolden shout,
Open up the window, let the bad air out,
Open up the window, let the bad air out,
Thought I heard him shout."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 03:56 PM

No aural recording of Bolden's exists, so actual wording is hearsay.
The Atrium, Univ. of Guelph.
Bolden

There was a hoax about a Bolden recording a couple of years ago.

The version by Jelly Roll Morton, quoted by Will Fly, is at redhotjazz.com, but that site is unobtainable today.

Bolden was institutionalized after going insane in 1907 as the result of a heat stroke, supposedly while marching and playing with a band.

In 1909, Louis Jones, a friend, wrote,

"Buddy Bolden began to get famous right after 1900 come up. He was the first to play the hard jazz and blues for dancing. Had a good band. Strictly ear band. Later on Armstrong, Bunk Johnson, Freddie Keppard- they all knew he began the good jazz. John Robichaux had a real reading band, but Buddy used to kill Robichaux anywhere he went. When he'd parade he's take the people with him all the way down Canal Street. When he bought a cornet he'd shine it up and make it glisten like a woman's leg."
W. R. Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University. Quoted in "Coming Through Slaughter," by Michael Ondaatje.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 04:13 PM

Azizi - to answer you question about titles, three spring to mind:

Count Basie
Earl 'Fatha' Hines
and 'Sir' Charles Thompson.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 04:33 PM

Thanks to all who have responded to my questions about the "funky butt" song & dance and my question about titles in jazz names.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 05:09 PM

Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Professor Emerita of Dance Studies at Temple University, a senior consultant/writer for Dance Magazine and performer with her husband, choreographer Hellmut Gottschild, has written a number of books about Black American dance. I found these descriptions of the Black Bottom and The Funky Butt in the Google Books presentation of Gottschild's 2003 book The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

...[the Boomps-a-Daisy was] "a party dance among young people and adults", to waltz tempo "partners bumped hips sedately as the special lyrics indicated…"this dance, like all twentieth-century fad dances, is rooted in black traditions. The decorous Boomps-a-Daisy is clearly a white dance. Although bumping body parts wasn't one of its steps, the ur-buttocks dance of the early twentieth century is the Black Bottoms. According to Stearns and Stearns this dance was performed in Southern African American communities before 1910. African American dance songwriter Perry Bradford revamped his 1907 version of Jackson Rounders' Dance because people did not appreciate the connotation in the title. (Rounder was slang for pimp). He revised the lyrics and renamed the song and the concomitant dance The Black Bottom. The sheet music was published in 1919. It did not reach the white community as a fad dance until it introduced on Broadway in George White's Scandals of 1926. By then it was a watered down version of what was probably a bawdy original" The chief gesture that survived on the ballroom floor was a genteel slapping on the backside along with a few hops forward and back" . But the original, black Black Bottom required the dancer to "get down" in posture and attitude, rotate the hips and articulate them in movements known as the Mooche and Mess Around both of which involve full rotation of pelvis in a flexible, unbound manner that is commonly called a Grind. The behind wasn't gently tapped, but grabbed and held to accentuate the rotation. Even earlier than the Black Bottom was the dance the Fanny Bump, practiced in the turn of the century in grass roots black communities, the name of the dance an indicator of its principal movement. Da Butt had a similar bawdy precedent in a dance known as The Funky Butt, as described by one of the Stearn's informants and dating back to 1901. "Well, you know the women sometimes pulled up their dresses to show their pretty petticoats …and that's what happened in the Funky Butt" …[Then, recalling a particular woman who was a specialist in this dance] When Sue arrived…people would yell 'Here comes Big Sue!. Do the Funky Butt, Baby!' As soon as she got high and happy, that's what she'd do, pulling up her skirts and grinding her rear end like an alligator crawling up the bank." As outrageous as Da Butt seems in the music videos of the early 1990s, it is simply a recycled Africanist with a new spin put on it for a new era-and that is the story of the all the popular social dances of the twentieth century and will probably be the same story for the twenty first. The movements come from Africa with Africans and were transformed first into plantation dances, then into minstrel dances, then social dances on the ballroom floor. By the time they reach mainstream venues, they've been laundered in the appropriation-approximation-assimilation white-wash cycle and are distilled/finessed to a white approved version. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the approximation part of this equation is occasionally, if not frequently, omitted, and black dances are wholly appropriated and directly included in the white culture-and indication of the blackening of white America".

http://books.google.com/books?id=1mC9vO5z77QC&dq=the+black+dance+body++gottschild&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=HJQlStr


-snip-

[transcribed without the numbers for the footnotes]

My guess is that the Sterns are Marshall Stearns and Jean Stearns, authors of Jazz Dance: The Story Of American Vernacular Dance


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 05:19 PM

For what its worth, from my observation, the late 1980s, early 1990s dance "Da Butt" was danced the same or very similarly to the Black Bottom and not the Funky Butt-meaning the women certainly did not "raise their dresses or skirts to show their petticoats" but did the wining, grinding Black Bottom moves as described above. While "doin the Butt" the men would sometimes slap their female partner's behind or might hold it as mentioned above.

Another African American dance from the 1990s (or was it the 1980s?) in this same family was The Bump. The Bump was performed by bumping your hip to your partner's hip, and is a true descendant of the old dance Gottschild wrote about, "The Fanny Bump".

Also, Gottschild was right that the African American social dances* keep recycling African dances and older African American dances. One of the newer Black R&B dances is Do The Stanky Leg. Even the name of that dance's its name shows its lineage to the "Funky Butt"-"stank" means "stink" and so does "funky": And when the singers say "Hit that boody do", you can really see the continuation of the Black Bottom dance.

*The Caribbean butt wining dances also reflect certain African dance movements.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 05:41 PM

I don't want to give the false impression that The Stanky Legs is danced like the Black Bottom. In some ways its more like the Charleston. In the Stanky leg one leg at a time is rhythmically lowered to the ground. I can't adequately explain it-and I definitely can't dance it.

If you want to see how its done-click on the link and watch that video and others.

**

BTW, I'm not denying that the word "funky" in those old songs probably referred to "stinky" smell, but the word "funky" has other meanings too. For example, in the Rufus Thomas 1973 R&B dance song "Funky Chicken", "funky" means dancing really good. And dancing really good often means dancing sensuously.

Click this link to see the funky chicken (which is a probably a modern version of the African American plantation dance "The Eagle Rock" and "cutting the pigeon wings".


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 05:43 PM

Opps! Mistake number-but who's counting?

:o)

Rufus Thomas does Funky Chicken

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwlGNNqGf_g&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 06:02 PM

All the royal/titled musicians so far mentioned have been men. So a round of applause for zydeco accorionist Queen Ida, please.
And while we're at it, let's mention Andy Razaf, who wrote the lyrics for Honeysuckle Rose and Ain't Misbehavin' etc, because he was a real Prince, of Madagascar no less.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 06:14 PM

Harking back to some of the earlier discussion, Bolden is not considered a jazz musician but a blues artist, who expanded on the barrelhouse blues. Early groups in New Orleans took blues, military band music, religious ragtime and popular music and brought it together into something that evolved in several directions.They were a pillar of jazz, although not the whole.

Jazz incorporated African-American idioms, Dixieland, popular and all the other musical subgroups into a more demanding and sophisticated form, its practitioners familiar with a wide range of music. Some elements cited as African-American, such as improvisation, polyphony, and syncopation are known in many cultures including "Western," and came into and then out of popularity more than once. Jazz is a combination of European and African-American music, more recently adding Latin and Asian elements and performers.
Beiderbecke, Whiteman, Goodman, Hines, Ellington, and blues- and ragtime-influenced artists like Armstrong, Joplin and many others mentioned and unmentioned contributed to the development of modern jazz.
Ellington and Goodman were at home with symphonic groups; Hines, to mention just one, was excellent at improvisation, like many of the classic musicians of the past- and perhaps a precursor of the likes of Jarrett.

Jazz as a term came from the West Coast just before WWI; it was adopted by musicians very gradually.

Somewhere I read that Ellington said, "It's all music." Trying to define or put boundaries on jazz is self-defeating. I also dislike appellations such as "the king," or "the greatest." At best, application of those 'terms' is fleeting, and indicate personal or group preference.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 06:46 PM

While there's little doubt that appellations such as "the king" or "the greatest" are to a large degree marketing/promotional strategies, my main concern about the "Paul Whiteman- King of Jazz" title and the ODJB claim that they were the creators of jazz, is that lots of folks may believe that without giving attention and credit to those who were the originators of jazz and because of their musical skills and innovations deserve the title of king much more than the person mainstream media promotes.

What I'm saying is that race plays a big factor in who mainstream media promotes and- as Brenda Dixon Gottschild described it-White American continuously takes Black cultural products like jazz and "launders [them] in the appropriation-approximation-assimilation white-wash cycle and are distilled/finessed to a white approved version." I consider Paul Whiteman and ODJB to be the "white washed white approved versions".

My core reason for starting this thread was to give more time (if not equal time) to the consideration and study of African American contributors to jazz which after all is a combination of iAfrican and European music making strategies.*

*I changed the order that Q gave in his latest post to reflect that the fact that the origin of jazz came from Black people and not White people. As to which musical influences is greater-African or European-I know too little about jazz to judge.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 07:06 PM

I think Dinah Washington was known as "Queen of the Blues." Bessie Smith was the "Empress of the Blues," and Billie Holiday, of course, was "Lady Day."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 09:13 PM

Paul Whiteman's orchestra was typical of the jazz bands of the 1920s-1930s.
The "King" quote that starts this thread perhaps is based on the title of a book by Joshua Berett, "Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman, Two Kings of Jazz," Yale Univ. Press.
(Would that make the music of Armstrong "white-washed, white approved"?)

Part of the problem here is the definition of jazz.
Jazz does have the blues contribution, a very important one, from Black Americans of the south, but it also has ragtime (mixed ancestry), marching band and popular American music components.

One pillar was the early New Orleans fusion of blues and marching band, *hymns and spirituals, with popular dance music of the time, most of the musicians Black.
(*"When the Saints Go Marching In" is a gospel song by a white composer, c' 1890s- don't know which N. O. band first latched on to it.

The other pillar took shape in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and other cities in between; largely a fusion of ragtime and popular music. It was developed by both black and white musicians (yes, the whites got the publicity, but history always gives the nod to the top dog). Bix Beiderbecke, like Armstrong, was a great cornetist of the 1920s.
Not until these two pillars united did jazz develop into a fully-fledged musical form. This began about the time of WW1 and developed into the great jazz age of 1920-1940.

Bolden, Morton and other c. 1890-1910 musicians of New Orleans and the Delta are thought of as blues, not jazz, artists, although jazz cannot be imagined without their contributions. See Paul Oliver, "Screening the Blues."

Of course to most white Americans, 1910-1940, their world was white and they knew only white musicians.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jun 09 - 09:34 PM

From a post by Elijah Wald in another thread (121094), the title of his book "comes from a parallel I draw between them [Beetles] and Paul Whiteman, who is widely condemned for almost destroying jazz by turning it from black dance music into white art music."

Glad I saw his note, which in my mind condemns his book. I will not purchase it.

Beetles


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 01:57 AM

Q - I would, with respect, take issue with just one of your comments above - that Morton was thought of as a "blues, not jazz, artist". Paul Oliver - who I knew briefly in the '60s - wrote many solid books and articles on jazz and blues, but "Screening The Blues" is, IMHO, not gospel (pun intended).

A good, long listen to Morton's output on conventional labels and on the Library of Congress recordings demonstrates that, while Morton certainly had a grounding in blues, he also had a solid grounding in the classical repertoire and in ragtime, and made a major contribution to jazz. I've never personally thought of him as a blues musician - in spite of what Paul might have written.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 05:03 AM

Q,

Thanks for your posts. All interesting. And I utterly agree that Elijah Wolds comments are insulting to all Jazz musicians - including Duke Ellington whose jungle Jams, though originally designed for entertainment, are now revered as art, and Miles Davis, a very politicized and self respecting black man who was all about art music, yet played bebop with the best of them.

Jazz is free - has no master - is not owned by anyone.

It is defined by those who play it not by those who wish to politicize it from the outside.

Some have beautifully politicized it from the inside, but none of that has any bearing on the point of view its commentators.

Jazz ritually defies its commentators.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: matt milton
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 05:41 AM

haven't read the book, so can't comment on whether or not Elijah Wald actually said this or not, but I don't think jazz really was "gentrified" in that way. The very existence of the work of Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, late Coltrane, Sun Ra and free jazz in general just goes to show that if there was any gentrification, it only went so far. Most jazz musicians were well aware of European classical music. they didn't need anyone like Paul Whiteman or Gershwin or Gil Evans to guide them to it.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 09:26 AM

PoppaGator, all you have to do is read what they said about black musicians.

Azizi, I think it's indisputable that the leading exponents of jazz historically were black.
I have no problem with this personally and Louis and Bird are two musical heroes of mine.

I also enjoy Bix and Teagarden, and "modernists" such as Lee Konitz, Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans (a jazz genius), Diana Krall and the new young revivalist, Bria Skonberg.
I enjoy Eddie Condon's get-togethers and the S.F. Revival of trad. (All whites)
But if it were not for the lesser known black jazz musicians of the twenties and thirties,
none of the above would have happened.

Keep your eye on the young African-American bass player, Esperanza Spalding. She can play and she can sing! (Check YouTube for all the above).

Whiteman didn't turn jazz into classical music but he did give Eddie Lang, (the world's first notable acoustic jazz guitarist), Joe Venuti, Bix and other jazz musicians work that they wouldn't have gotten easily otherwise.

Italian influences in jazz have yet to be investigated. Some of the great acoustic guitarists were of Italian extraction, Eddie Lang, Bucky Pizzarelli, Tony Mottola, Venuti (violin) and more. Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Tony Bennett are some of the singers.

Also, there was a kind of Jewish swing popularized by Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman, Ziggy Elman and others. Jazz has grown historically into an international art form started by African-Americans. It is home-grown American although there is a European form of jazz now which differs from the US.

Ironically, there are more jazz festivals featuring top US players in Europe than in the US.
US jazz musicians are not rewarded financially. I think Wynton Marsalis should be given credit for reviving an educational approach to the public's interest in jazz.

Early jazz is related to African-American folk music. The blues was foundational in its musical form as a guide to developing jazz solos and repertiore. Charlie Parker was a great blues musician because he took the form to a new musical level. Of course, so did Louis and Jelly Roll.

Banjo players should know about Elmer Snowden and Johnny St. Cyr.

I see jazz as kind of an extension of folk music which became more rarified through be-bop and beyond. But it's roots are distinctly African-American and as a result, distinctly American.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 09:40 AM

'Most jazz musicians were well aware of European classical music....'

Time to bring in the MJQ?


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 11:34 AM

Speaking of how other things influenced jazz and how jazz influenced other things, here's an interesting brief essay entitled "Learning to Swing" from Ralph Ellison's book Shadow and Act. That essay is included in Daryl Cumber Dance's anthology From My People-400 Years of African American folklore (New York; W.W. Norton & Company; 2002; p 195) :

"You see jazz was so much a part of our total way of life that it got not only into our attempts at playing classical music but into forms of activities usually not associated with it: into marching and into football games, where it has since become a familiar fixture. A lot has been written about the role of jazz in a certain type of Negro funeral marching, but in Oklahoma City it got into military drill. There were many Negro veterans of the Spanish-American War who delighted in teaching the younger boys complicated drill patterns, and on hot summer evenings we spent hours on the Bryant School grounds (now covered with oil wells) learning to execute the commands barked at us by our enthusiastic drillmasters, And as we mastered the patterns, the jazz feeling would come into it and no one was satisfied until we were swinging. These men who taught us had raised a military discipline to the level of a low art form, almost a dance, and its spirit was jazz."

-snip-

Here are two definitions of "swing" from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_jazz

"Swing music, also known as swing jazz or simply swing, is a form of jazz music that developed in the early 1930s and had solidified as a distinctive style by 1935 in the United States. Swing uses a strong anchoring rhythm section which supports a lead section that can include brass instruments, including trumpets and trombones, woodwinds including saxophones and clarinets or stringed instruments including violin and guitar; medium to fast tempos; and a "lilting" swing time rhythm. Swing bands usually featured soloists who would improvise a new melody over the arrangement. The danceable swing style of bandleaders such as Benny Goodman and Count Basie was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1945.

The verb "to swing" is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic "groove" or drive." "

-snip-

So when Ellison wrote that no one was satisfied until they were "swinging", he meant that second definition-"playing [making music] that has a strong rhythmic "groove" or drive."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 12:01 PM

I have written some posts in this thread about jazz dances, including the Black Bottom. In my post about the Black Bottom the implication is that "bottom" means "butt". However, Lynne Fauley Emery, author of Black Dance From 1619 to Today (Princeton: Princeton Book Publishers, Second Revised Edition; 1988;p 221) gives a different origin for the name of that dance:

"According to [Zora Neale] Hurston, one of the dances originating in a jook was the Black Bottom. This dance "really originated in the jook section of Nashville, Tennesse, around Fourth Avenue. This was a tough neighborhood known as the Black Bottom-hence the name"...

Source noted-Zora Neale Hurston, "Mimicy", in Nancy Cunard, Negro Anthology (London: Wishard and Co; 1934); p.44


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 12:03 PM

With regard to the etymology of the word "jook", see also this comment written by Lynn Fauley Emery in that same above mentioned book on Black dance:

"Despite the ban of the church and the chagrin of the civic leaders [in the 1900s], the Negro continued to dance. Segregated public dance halls developed throughout the South. There also developed a peculiar institution called the jook, or jook house. Jook is the anglicized pronunciation of "dzugu", a word from the Gulluh dialect of the African Bambara tribe meaning "wicked". Jook came to mean a Negro pleasure house: either a "bawdy house or house for drinking and gambling. It was in these jooks that "the Negro dances circulated over the world" were created. Before being seen on the stage by the outside world, these dances made the rounds of the Southern jooks."

Source-Zora Neale Hurston, "Mimicy", in Nancy Cunard, Negro Anthology (London: Wishard and Co; 1934); p.44

Emery also adds this comment to the note about the Black Bottom and other "Negro dances"-"Music in the jook houses was frequently provided by a large, gaudily decorated, coin-operated phonograph; hence the origin of the term juke-box".


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 12:29 PM

I hasten to say that I'm sure that posters to this thread already knew what "swing" and "jook" mean. But I'm mindful of the fact that some people may arrive at this thread from Internet search engines and may not have known the meaning of those words.

I;m providing this explanation of why I sometimes define terms because I don't want people to think that I think that I can teach people about jazz. I'm well aware that I'm a beginning student of jazz.

As is the case with other subjects discussed on Mudcat, my approach is as a community folklorist and not as a musician/vocalist. And in that folklorist/student role, I very much appreciate learning from those of you who are or were active musicians and/or vocalists.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 02:21 PM

The assumption that Jazz black Jazz musicians didn't have a full awareness of european classical music is offensive to them. They damn well all did.

As every armchair historian knows, slave owners had house slaves and slaves who worked in the fields.

There is much hat is sensitive and complex about that subject that I am going to conveniently sidestep.

However, what I will say is that it was a matter of some social status to have slaves who could play music to high standards.

As a result, there were many talented slaves who received music tuition in the western classical style (classical here includes everything from medieval through to whatever was contemporary.)

This included european theories of harmony, and most importantly diatonic chord theory within the framework of the european theory of functional harmony.

Some of these musicians were utter virtuosos.

This is arguably the real birthplace of Jazz.

The slaveowners house was a place where two traditions met and merged.

White folks heard the blues and Black folks learned about the 12 note scale and how to establish and move between key centres.

Those white folks who had the guts to be interested in the music that resulted (I'm guessing young and rebellious) brought the result into their drawing rooms, while those talented young slaves would invest some of their traditional african soul into the theory they were learning an Kaboom - a new art form is born.

It would no doubt have flourished more among African americans as they were not restricted by the same taboos, but to say that it did not flourish at all amongst white would be a misnomer.

It is in this way that I defne it as having an African parent and a European parent.

The two genetic codes (this is a musical metaphor) combined in the womb of Americas heartland to produce a child that did not fit.

This illegitimate embarrassing music was similarly shunned and viewed as ungodly, the work of the devil etc in a way that blues and gospel weren't.

It was beholden to no man and represented an ideal seperate from any that had come before.

Take away the chord theory and there is no jazz - the music remains in one key and the harmony remains lacking in theoretical complexity.

Take away the blues and you are left with frilly shirts and stuffy jackets in the hot sun and inapproprate hot drinks on the lawn.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 02:26 PM

Disclaimer- I am no music historian, just interested in music of all kinds (except rap and such-like) and read a bit about it as well.

Will Fly- Indirectly, you hit on one of the short-comings of Oliver's books. He does not trace the evolution of his subject. Morton, your example, in his early days is covered, but not his later development. In many interviews, Morton gave questioners what they wanted- tidbits about the bordello days, not all accurate.
Of course ragtime was important in turn-of-the-century N. O., as it was all over the country, and was part of Morton's background. Along with other N. O. blues-based musicians, probably all of whom played ragtime, he moved on to Chicago; others to New York, and abroad, where they developed and drew on many sources.

(One digressional point about ragtime- it was a very disciplined form, developed mostly by trained composers such as Joplin (classically trained), and later developed some quite free variations.)

Like many other N. O. musicians, Morton moved on, in his case to Chicago where musicians, black and white, gathered from all over the country. It was in Chicago after WW1 that jazz became full-fledged during the 1920s. Oliver, Armstrong, Johnson, Hines (classically trained), Billy Strayhorn (classical training), Dodds, Armstrong, Beiderbecke (classically trained) to name a few. Others went to NY, but Chicago was an informal college where musicians of varied backgrounds and interests came together. The term 'jazz' (many unsupported speculations as to origin of the word) came into common use there.

Jazz has continued to diversify, as others have pointed out, drawing in elements from all over the world.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 02:36 PM

Elijah Wald isn't insulting anyone--his title draws an ironic parallel between the influence that Whiteman and The Beatles had--some of you are just looking for things to get upset about--


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Leadbelly
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 03:30 PM

Stringsinger:"Whiteman didn't turn jazz into classical music but he did give Eddie Lang, (the world's first notable acoustic jazz guitarist), Joe Venuti, Bix and other jazz musicians work that they wouldn't have gotten easily otherwise."

Looks like a duplicate of what Jean Goldkette did. All of them mentioned by you and some others have had jobs in several bands of Goldkette: Bix, Trumbauer, Venuti, Lang, J. and T. Dorsey...and so on.

Originally, Goldkette came from the classical angle and has had an abition to become a concert pianist. And indeed, in the 50's he made concert appearances, including solo performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Without a doubt, he was a real musician, born in Greece.

Although this is a thread about Whiteman, I would like to underline Goldkette's place in jazz history. Especially his Victor Recordings (from 1924 to 1928) are really great documents of jazzy dance music.

That's it!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,Will Fly, on the hoof
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:28 AM

It's worth having a comparative listen to Whiteman's recordings from the 20s and those of King Oliver's band in his Chicago days. Oliver's band was a true jazz orchestra, with musicians like the young Armstrong on cornet. If you get the chance, check out his recording of "Deep Henderson" - one of the most amazing tracks from early jazz - with it's unusual chords and surging melody. Difference as chalk is from cheese by comparison with Whiteman.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 07:07 AM

I can't find the King Oliver recording that you mentioned on YouTube, but here are links to four other King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band recordings (with photo slides) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvw0a_2uezE

High Society - King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band 1923

"In the second recording session of the "Jazz King" of Chicago Joe Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band recorded in Chicago as well. This was done on June 24 1923.
In this famous band we hear Joe Oliver and Louis Armstrong on cornets, Johnny Dodds on Clarinet, Lil Hardin on piano, Bud Scott on banjo and Baby Dodds on drums".

**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i2xo-M2xKE&feature=related

Mabel's Dream -- King Oliver's Jazz Band 1923

"This a track from the famous Oliver/Armstrong recordings. The band plays Mabel's Dream. A famous movie star in those years was Mabel Normand.
Could this composition and it's name have had anything to do with her popularity? Maybe, or maybe not. Who is there still to ask?" ...

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFcfIoyOaxQ&feature=related

Snag It -King Oliver

"Here is another classic from my archives. I had forgotten that I had it, and only found it today when searching for something else!...

It is far from perfect, but what can one expect when it was recorded 86 years ago and has been re-copied at least twice in my disorganised archive?"

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYa9iRNX7dU&NR=1

KING OLIVER

No title other than King Oliver's name was given for the 9:22 minute YouTube sound recording of several songs. Also, no summary statement was provided by the poster and there are no photos except for a cover shot of the record album with the words "King Oliver-Frankie and Johnny 1929-1930". I'm assuming that the music that is featured in this YouTube sound video are from that album.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 07:26 AM

Here are links to four Paul Whiteman recordings (with photo slides) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsufN4zOkFM

Paul Whiteman with Bix: Lonely Melody

"Here is "Lonely Melody" (Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra, with Bix Beiderbecke, cornet; Victor 21214; recorded 1/4/28), as played back on my Victor VE8-30X with tooled leather panels (phonograph dating to 1927). It has a brass Orthophonic soundbox."

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyM6kg10UYE&feature=related

"China Boy" by Paul Whiteman

"China Boy" was recorded by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra on May 3, 1929. Cornetist Bix Beiderbecke had been ill for some time and had just recently rejoined the orchestra when this record was made. During this time, Bix was playing most of his solos into a felt hat, which masked his weakened tone. Although Bix's solo in "China Boy" is only 16 bars long, it is considered by many to be one of the finest solos he ever recorded.

[Additional comments are in included in this summary about the record player used to play this vintage record]

**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4V3ZhGHZA4

Shaking The Blues Away by Paul Whiteman and his Orch.

"Shaking The Blues Away" recorded by Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra. This great number was orchestrated by composer Ferde Grofe, who was associated with the Whiteman Orchestra as both an arranger and composer. Whiteman's orchestra, which was much larger than a standard dance orchestra, gave Grofe a lot to work with in terms of tone and color, and he used it all to great effect."

[Additional comments are in included in this summary about the record player used to play this vintage record]

**
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRBEOP9zO1k

A Picture of Me Without You - Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra With Ramona & Ken Darby

"A Picture of Me Without You - Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra With Ramona & Ken Darby, featured in the movie Paper Moon."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 08:18 AM

Here are some more links to YouTube videos of vintage recordings:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc&feature=related

Maple Leaf Rag Played by Scott Joplin

"Maple leaf Rag, recorded on Pianola Roll actually played by Scott Joplin"

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rrc6AK6AKA0

Black Bottom Stomp - Jelly Roll Morton

"Black Bottom Stomp - Jelly Roll Morton (1926) original Victor 78 rpm record"

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQWWA3jnCPQ

Jelly Roll Morton and his Red Hot Peppers - Blue Blood Blues (1930)

"Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (Sept.20,1885 or Oct.20,1890 - July 10,1941) was an American ragtime pianist, bandleader and composer.

Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton claimed, in self-promotional hyperbole, to have invented jazz outright in 1902. Critic Scott Yanow writes that "Morton did himself a lot of harm posthumously by exaggerating his worth (yet) Morton's accomplishments as an early innovator are so vast that he did not really need to stretch the truth." Morton was the first serious composer of jazz, naming and popularizing the so-called "Spanish tinge" of exotic rhythms and penning such standards as "Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say"."

**

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-HJI464CVs

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band - Dippermouth Blues (Sugarfoot Stomp) 1923

"Joe "King" Oliver (Dec.19,1885 - April 10,1938) was a jazz cornet player and bandleader.

He was particularly noted for his playing style, pioneering the use of mutes. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played regularly, including "Dippermouth Blues", "Sweet Like This", "Canal Street Blues", and "Doctor Jazz". He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong. Two of Armstrong's most famous recordings, "West End Blues" and "Weather Bird", were Oliver compositions. His influence was such that Armstrong claimed, "if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today"...

-snip-

[Click on that link to read the rest of this long, informative summary.]


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 10:51 AM

Azizi,

According to Jelly Roll Morton "Funky Butt" was the name of the cafe where Buddy Bolden played. It's mentioned in the Winin' Boy Blues by Morton.

"Funky Butt, Funky Butt, take it away!"
Also "I thought I heard Frankie Dusen shout (trombone player)
Open up the window, let the bad air out."

Yes, lots of opinions and like every other criticism, everyone's an authority.
Jazz is always going to be hotly contested just like folk music. I think it's important
to share views also.

It's tragic but King Oliver died unceremoniously in the South without anyone knowing much about it. I think the last part of his life was as a pool hall attendant. (Not sure).

The Hot Five and the Hot Seven are classic bands from the era thanks to Oliver.
I think the trombone solo on West End Blues shows Kid Ory as a tasteful and moving
player. He played simply and emotionally very much like a true folksinger.

Johnny Dodds is also a remarkable early trad jazz clarinetist whose solos are trenchant,
imaginative and filled with emotion.

Trad jazz in the New Orleans style is quite unique and not many people are conversant with the idiom. Like folkmusic, ya' gotta' have been around it live to get it. I was fortunate to jam (as a kid, I was a bad trombone player) with Zutty Singleton. It's a feel like folkmusic that you need to recognize.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 12:23 PM

I've been thinking about Lox's theory, posted yesterday, that jazz appeared simultaneously at various planation homes around the south, thanks to house-servant slaves being trained in the European musical tradition.

It's a very plausible theory. Maybe I've been wrong all along in believing that my adopted hometown, New Orleans, was the true, one-and-only, "birthplace" of jazz.

On second thought, however, I feel pretty sure that New Orleans provided an absolutely unique environment to act as crucible to a new musical genre:

For several generations, while slaves throughout the English-speaking South were absolutley prohibited from gathering to drum and dance in their own tradition (for fear that secret, coded communication via drum leading to revolt/uprising), New Orleans provided a meeting place (Congo Square) where slaves and free people of color could gather every Sunday for free musical expression. Some participants, obviously, would be among the relatively privileged few to have experienced formal Wesstern musical education; many others would be playing strictly "by ear," or instinctively. Also, some of the folks would be more recently arrived from Africa, or from Hispaniola, than others. All in all, a very fertile situation from which new forms of expression to emerge.

Also in New Orleans, there was a large and prominent community of Creoles, or what we would today call "biracial" people. In the English-speaking south, the "one-sixteenth" rule held sway from the very beginnning of the peculiar institution of slavery ~ a person with ANY African ancestry was subject to enslavement. Under French and Spanish rule, New Orleans saw the emergence of a middle-class community of mixed-race people, many of whom became highly educated in the European tradition. And, it is a well-established historical fact that many of the musicians involved in the evoltion of early jazz were indeed Creoles from this community.

So, yeah, after about 24 hours of doubt, I am back to believing that jazz was indeed created right here in the Crescent City.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 12:44 PM

Poppagator - I don't think you needed to have even 24 seconds of doubt. There's no doubt in my mind that New Orleans was uniquely placed at a moment in history to give birth to jazz. As you say, the mix of peoples and musical traditions was the "soup" from which the music emerged, and I can't think of any other place at that time where that soup was bubbling away. :-)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 01:37 PM

The fusion of the elements into jazz can be argued long into the night.
I would rather listen.

Some good work here by King Oliver with Lil Hardin Armstrong, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, Johnny Dodds, Honore Dutrey, Johnny St. Cyr and others. A dozen classics from the Chicago of 1923.

Creole Jazz Band


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: pdq
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:13 PM

Here is a great picture of King Oliver and the band's...

                                                                        classic lineup


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:20 PM

"Elijah Wald isn't insulting anyone - his title draws an ironic parallel between the influence that Whiteman and The Beatles had--some of you are just looking for things to get upset about--"

Perhaps i should add my own disclaimer - that I haven't read the comments of Elijah Wolds and am therefore not really in a position to criticize him.

As for getting upset, no that is not the case.

My comment still stands that any suggestion that African Americans stumbled upon jazz in ignorance of the chord theories that underpin it would be insulting to them as it would be to deny them the credit they deserve for consciously developing this theory in their own unique way.

Any idea that Black people have a primitive affinity with these musical styles and that white people only understand them in an academic way would also be insulting to musicians of both racial groups as it would perpetuate unfounded stereotypes of Black and white musicians.

People like John Coltrane and thelonious monk had a deep academic knowledge and understanding of the principles of music and an original way of manipulating this knowledge that only musicians so informed could devise.

They may not have been part of academic institution but their ideas and discoveries are taught in academic institutions and most musicians would find them hard to understand.

Likewise, Someone like chet baker who learned by listening intently to the music of his heroes was as 'natural' a jazz musician as any who came before or after him black or white. He was renouned for having extremely sensitive ears and an extremely quick creative mind so that complex changes did not leave him stranded, but instead he could improvise beautiful over just about anything.

Any suggestion about how one set of humans are 'just different' to another set of humans is unfounded and is indeed insulting to both groups.

The idea of 'natural' uneducated blacks and educated but soulless whites is a projection onto Jazz by those with their own agenda and in all probability who can't play it, as anyone who does play jazz knows how hard it is and respects anyone elses ability to play it too.


On the subject of my theory,

I don't have any one specific theory.

The question of the origins of Jazz being based in the crossover of musical forms on slave plantations is seperate from the view concerning Jazz emerging all over, the latter of which I was told by a friend and mentor - an authority on Jazz in his 80's who has played with just about every Jazz great from Louis down to the current day.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 03:23 PM

To expand on the chet baker point, the point is that he was known among his contemporary's for 'just knowing' what to do without apparently having to practice.

blah ..


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:23 PM

The 'Creoles of color' playing in New Orleans could read music; Bolden, St. Cyr, Keppard, Dutrey, etc. Lox names some of the more recent important jazz musicians, but even in the beginning, the blues-ragtime-bandsmen would have been aware of a broad range of musical practice. Like all good improvisors, they went beyond the printed page, as did many important European players and composers from at least the baroque period on.

What pianist doesn't know Mozart's 12 variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle,..." (Ah! vous dirais-je, Maman). A common concert trick is to take several tunes named by the audience and improvise.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: pdq
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 04:42 PM

You forgot to mention Lil Hardin.

She was a well-trained musician. Good enough to work in a music store.

Customers looking to buy sheet music of the "latest song" would ask Ms. Hardin to play it on the piano. Perhaps even sing. Sightreading music you have never heard before is quite an art.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 05:12 PM

Did a quick google search and the very first website I came across echoes what my Jazz mentor has told me.

I typed in "origins of Jazz" and I think it was the third entry down on the list.

Almost straight away (I didn't read any further) it says:

"The origins of Jazz are attributed to turn of the 20th century New Orleans, although this unique, artistic medium occurred almost simultaneously in other North American areas like Kansas City, Saint Louis and Chicago. Traits carried from West African black folk music developed in the Americas, joined with European popular and light classical music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, became the syncopated rhythms of Ragtime and minor chord voicings characteristic of the Blues."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 05:14 PM

Here's the link to the source of the above quote.


I'm not saying its authoritative, but it does support what I've been told and should hopefully be a useful first point for anyone wishing to look into what happened in kansas etc


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 09 - 10:00 PM

Lil Hardin not only could read and play music but, when married to Louis Armstrong in Chicago and playing in the band with him, persuaded him to go it on his own. This started one of the most important careers in jazz.
A superb pianist!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 05:19 AM

Yes Lillian Armstrong is revered by those who are aware of her as being an essential contributor to the growth of Jazz.


A quick aside on the subject of knowledge of european chord theory etc ...

this did not stop short of reading and imrovisational ability etc, but was also an essential factor for any brass section, whether marching or otherwise.

When these groups played, the horns functioned as contrapuntal choirs of instruments.

They would divide up the parts between them, and with a full understanding of counterpoint and polyphony and the principle (from Bach) of smooth harmonic lines with a minimum of movement, they would move through the chords.

Often, young musicians would be taken under the wing of older more experienced ones and they learned these principles on the job, however, the principles themselves are straight out of the bach 'rule' book.

The difference was that their parts weren't written out as they would have been in bachs time.

It is in this area that Jazz truly comes into its own and is defined as a unique and special artform. This was where improvisation was at its most expert as comping instruments improvised their accompaniment and unlike the soloist, there was no room for error or the nature and function of each chord would have been utterly undermined.

So while Bach wrote his chorals out and singers sang the lines through the chords, brass sections would find their way through the lines based on what they knew the chords to be. This remains true today in Jazz just as it did back then.

To do it you have to know your stuff - there is no two ways about it.

This is why Jazz music, when written, except in special cases, will give you the melody and chord symbols.

This format of written music is known as that 'fake' sheet. Often books of Jazz music are called 'fake books'.

This is because it was up to the musicians to colour it in/fill in the gaps themselves. In other words they 'faked' the music.

Knowing how to find, choose and spontaneously play sympathetic harmonic counterpoint based on such limited information is a very specific skill.

It is in this context that you can see how the marriage of european and african traditions is not just skin deep but runs right to the heart of jazz. you can also see that, like a mixed race child, the two ingredients do not make up a combination, with some aspects white and some black, but rather they have created a singular entity that is unique and exists in its own right with its own characteristics and its own identity.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 06:38 AM


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 07:01 AM

Oops - wrong button,

so to clarify the above post, let us consider a chord sequence of B7 to E7 to Amaj7.

An accompanist on trombone might, in order to take the smoothest line, move from the 7th of B7 (A) to the 3rd of E7 (G#) and end on the 7th of Amaj7 (G#).

As you can see, he has only moved downwards by a semitone in the chord progression.

When you listen to New Orleans Jazz you hear a lot of chromatic movement of this sort in the accompanying instruments. The bass is usually much more lively.

The counterpoint can get more complex, but the basic idea is as shown in the example above.

To do this kind of harmony, you need to know how chords conect to each other, you have to know which notes the root, the 3rd and the 7th of any given chord are and you have to be looking ahead at the next chord and choosing which note to move to next so as to keep the texture smooth.

It should also be clarified that this knowledge and approach to harmony, though generally associated with bach was not created by him. It developed over a very long time, beginning in medieval times and growing in complexity through rennaissance and baroque times.

So to suggest that it just happened by accident one day in new orleans without prior knowledge would be like saying that einstein just happened to come up with the theory of relativity one day. The truth is that in order to do so he would have had to come up with all of Newtons and Curies discoveries all by himself first too.

We know this didn't happen. He knew and understood the work that went before him and developed upon it in new and exciting ways.

And thats what happened in America. Counterpoint became a group endevour rather than a composers challenge.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: meself
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 07:12 AM

"slaves throughout the English-speaking South were absolutley prohibited from gathering to drum and dance in their own tradition"

To say that it was "absolutely" prohibited implies that it didn't happen - according to a book I once read called The Peculiar Institution, there was a great deal of sneaking off at night to surreptitious gatherings with slaves from other plantations, where drumming and dancing indeed took place. More generally, this book described an active underground, subversive African-American culture that developed in the South during the slavery era.

Having to do with New Orleans, though, I read somewhere not too long ago that there was a customary and tolerated gathering of slaves and free African-Americans at a certain square on Sunday afternoons, with music and dance for entertainment and amusement.

It should be remembered as well that there has long been a great deal of mobility of European and North American musicians, entertainers, and people generally, such that a musical innovation that comes about in New Orleans might not take very long to reach other centers - and backwaters. There was, apparently, a touring jazz band that played in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the early 1900s. Two African-Canadian brothers moved from Toronto to - Memphis? - and opened up the Maple Leaf Club at which Scott Joplin would play, and after which he named his famous rag. During the slavery era, there were slaves such as Josiah Henson (not a musician, but he left a written account) whose adventures and misadventures would take them all over the eastern U.S., from Ohio to New Orleans, and beyond. So - influences all over the place, no doubt.

Okay - that's just some midnight rambling.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 07:17 AM

The pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk describes watching the drumming in Congo Square in New Orleans in the 1860s or '70s.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 07:23 AM

The answers are in the music.

And here's something that will send shivers down your spine.

New Orleans Jazz Funeral

I hope My funeral is one tenth as moving as this!!!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 02:12 PM

Many early opera, mass and masque composers left portions unwritten, those not essential to their conception, to be filled in by the orchestra members, with instruction "and continuo." The musicians had to be good improvisors.
These gaps were filled in as Lox describes, often by harpsichord or clavecin and/or other instruments complimentary to the action, mood or story.

(Not the same thing, but brings to mind the piano players who accompanied early silent movies. And often how a small-town church organist eked out a living.)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 03:25 PM

Basso continuo players had to be good enough to play the chords in the right inversions but it isn't quite the same thing as choosing an individual line within the harmony.

That would be more akin to just having the melody and the basso continuo written out and SATB all having to figure out their own lines which was not something that happened.


Also, there were many pieces with passages marked for improvisation, but usually the 'improvised' parts were themselves prewritten so there wasn't the same sense of free improvisation that one gets in Jazz.

The ethos of instrumentalists taking turns to improvise their own spontaneous and personally expressive solo, and then fitting in as appropriate ingredients within the supporting harmony is derived from west african traditions.

I have spent time in Ghana where I had the great privilege of playing with traditional drummers and learning a lot about the local music. I attended a couple of community events, including a funeral, where the drummers beat out a complex compound rhythm full of syncopation and the singers sang with the same kind of ethos.

The experience made it very clear where that aspect of the blues and Jazz came from.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 04:13 PM

I've continued to mull over the question of whether jazz evolved all over the slaveholding south, or specifically and exclusively in New Orleans.

I've come to the conclusion that the blues, and ragtime, and American "roots" music in general, did indeed develop all over the place, wherever African-Americans and European-Americans made music together, or even influenced each other's music indirectly.

Jazz, however ~ the original group-improvisation genre first known as jass/jazz and now recognized as "trad-jazz" and/or "dixieland" ~ DID develop in New Orleans.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 06:19 PM

Certainly what developed in New Orleans is one of the foundations of jazz.
Don't know what they called it at the time, probably just music. The word came later.

The contributions of ragtime and other musicians of the same generation can't be divorced from jazz origins.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 08:15 PM

Poppagator,

I don't know if you are right or wrong for sure, but I don't know how mulling helps.

Another 5 second google search throws this up:


St Louis Jazz from 1895

I'll do the next link in my next post as I seem unable to post more than one link at a time without my post disappearing.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 08:28 PM

Well I don't know which link to choose - none are in depth enough to add to the discussion in any meaningful way - but the view is repeated on various websites that jazz appeared in other locations simultaneously.

There are other websites which credit New Orleans with being the birthplace of Jazz.

I have been meaning to go to the library to do some proper research on it.

I remain open minded and look forward to discovering something i didn't know before.

I'll probably do it on tuesday.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 09:15 PM

Many discussions. Many Books. But little by those who were there in the early days.

Here is a list to keep you going for a few months-
http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/cja/jazzbib.html

I want that one on Lil Hardin Armstrong by James Dickerson, "Just for a Thrill."


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 09:25 PM

Atlantic City is a forgotton place of early jazz development.
Eubie Blake, James Johnson (stride pianist and prolific composer), Charles Roberts, Willie (the Lion) Smith, starting about 1906. And Harlem, where black nightclubs were strong at the turn of the century.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 05 Jun 09 - 09:27 PM

Its a simple matter of chronology.

If the earliest known performers in each city were doing the same thing at around the same time then that wouldn't support a view that it spread from one source.

If the earliest known performers were all based in new orleans and jazz in other cities only appeared some time afterwards then it is possible that it came from there and spread - but then you also need to ask who brought it ...


Lets face it - in all probability it will be much more complex than that.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Leadbelly
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 03:31 PM

Dear Mrs.Azizi. In your second contribution (see above) you made the statement: "I admit right of the bat that I know very little about jazz music."
Sounds very funny when reading all of your contributions. I do remember that you did the same trick with blues music some time ago.
Why do you do so? To put a stimulus to mudcatters?
I believe they don't need such understatement to make a reply.

Have a good time,

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 07:48 PM

Hello, Manfred.

I wrote that I know very little about jazz because I know very little about jazz. And I i wrote that I know very little about blues (on this2005 thread) because I knew very little about blues music. I know more about blues now than I knew in 2005, but I still don't consider myself very knowledgeable about that music genre.

As I mentioned on this thread or on another thread, I grew up mostly listening to Rock n' Roll (which later became R&B or Soul music) and religious music (mostly gospel music, spirituals, and music from church hymnals). I was introduced to jazz mostly through my now ex-husband who was a jazz musician. But although I hear his group play and heard some jazz records during our years of marriage, that doesn't mean that I know about jazz.

I see nothing wrong with starting music threads such as these. I certainly learn from such threads and I believe other Mudcat members and guests find them to be interested and informative.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Jun 09 - 07:51 PM

Oh and Manfred, I also meant to mention, that much of what I know about jazz and blues and a host of other subjects is through my relatively new friend Google.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Leadbelly
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 02:51 AM

It seems to me that knowlegde about blues, jazz and other things is absolutely relative.
I would like to say that you are an expert compared to others believing that they are.
That's a compliment because it's always interesting to read about your contributions.

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 07:57 AM

Manfred, I look forward to reading information that folks share about jazz. That does not mean that I accept everything that I read. And I very much prefer opinions given in the interest of adding to knowledge about a particular subject to put downs directed towards named and unnamed persons given for Lord only knows what reason or reasons.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that-on this thread anyway.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 08:49 AM

The reason jazz started in New Orleans is because it was supported economically there by
the whorehouse industry. Also the marching band was employed for municipal functions.

After the Navy closed down Storyville, jazz moved to Chicago and ultimately to the other big cities.

Jazz (jass) is also a euphemism (like rock) that would be applied to the red light district of
Storyville.

(Jazz is an acceptable four-letter word).


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 02:23 PM

The reason for the Jazz boom in Chicago was the 'Great Migration' of workers from south to north as workers looked for better conditions, terms and status.

Added to this is the fact that Chicago was where the alcohol importers operated from during prohibition - so there was lots of 'work' available in the alcohol 'industry' including a strong subculture of bars etc who employed musicians. Jazz was the preferred tipple of the young.

Venues got bigger and dances filled bigger halls, so in the absence of large PA's the Big Band was born.

This was the next stage or 'mountain top' of Jazz after dixie etc.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Leadbelly
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 03:30 PM

Because this thread became a general discussion about jazz and his roots I would like to mention The Halfway House Orchestra.
The Halfway House was about mid-way between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.
Most prominent members of this great group have been leader Albert Brunies (cnt),Charlie Cordella (clt. and some saxes) and somewhat later Sidney Arodin (clt),accompanied by a fine rhythm section.
Even today, it's a real pleasure to listen to tracks like "Squeeze me", "Maple Leaf Rag", "Snookum", "Since you're gone", "Wylie Avenue Blues" and many others.
Albert (the brother of George) was a wonderful cornet player!

Anybody aware of this formation?

Manfred

Manfred


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 03:33 PM

I wasn't aware but I will definitely be checking it out.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 04:44 PM

The tune "Wylie Avenue Blues" probably refers to "Wylie Avenue" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the street where the jazz club "The Crawford Grill" was located.

Here's some information about the "Crawford Grill":

Crawford Grill:

"A center of Black social life where musicians such as Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, John Coltrane drew a racially mixed, international clientele. Here, Crawford Grill # 2, the second of three clubs opened 1943; was owned by William (Gus) Greenlee, later by Joseph Robinson.


Behind the Marker
William "Gus" Greenlee was a towering figure in Pittsburgh's African-American community. He owned the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the city's powerhouse Negro League baseball team, which was named after his night club, The Crawford Grill. Greenlee also controlled various nightclubs, sponsored professional boxers, and generally dominated the city's African-American sports and entertainment scene. The source of his wealth was the stuff of legend. According to local gossip, he made his money hijacking beer trucks and running an illegal gambling syndicate called a numbers racket.

Numbers bankers were important figures in the black neighborhoods of American cities. They employed dozens of numbers "runners" who picked up the bets and often financed black businessmen and women to whom white banks refused to make loans. The bankers could use their armies of numbers "runners" to bring out the vote on Election Day. This gave them clout with the white political bosses and could keep their gambling syndicates - and other businesses - protected. They also used their money to finance local sports teams, and to operate nightclubs that attracted the musicians from all over the country.

For many clubs, Pittsburgh's somewhat unusual economy was a boon. In the 1940s and 1950s, Pittsburgh's steel mills ran twenty-four hours a day, as did the city. Steel workers were shift workers, and their days off were rotated so that 'weekends' often came in the middle of the week. This was good for the local businesses, especially restaurants and nightclubs like the Crawford Grill. Workers would often go out mid-week, dressed up and looking for dinner and entertainment. The Crawford provided both.

The original Crawford Grill on Wylie Avenue in the Hill District of Pittsburgh was nearly a full city block in length. In the main room on the second floor, the audience surrounded a revolving stage and bought their drinks at a glass-topped bar. The third floor, however, was where the real action took place, for this was home to 'Club Crawford', a spot for "insiders only."

The Grill catered to a mixed clientele, as owner Keith Farris remembered in 2002.

There was never any nonsense about having great black artists come in by the back door like they did at The Cotton Club in New York. The Crawford Grill was part of the social, cultural and political landscape of Pittsburgh. Its presence was felt throughout the city. All politicians, black and white, would stop in at the Crawford Grill to have meetings and make themselves known. Not only people from Pittsburgh visited: so did Ethel Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Whenever celebrities came to town, they stopped in to the Crawford Grill.

http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=452


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Jun 09 - 04:52 PM

Here's additional information about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Crawford Grill:

"Crawford Grill was a renowned jazz club in in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA's Hill District. Its heyday was the 1930s to 1950s.

The club was founded by Gus Greenlee, who first made his reputation as a numbers runner and racketeer, then later as the owner of the Negro League baseball team the Pittsburgh Crawfords.

Music lovers flocked to the Crawford Grill to hear Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughn, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, and other legends of jazz. White musicians who played downtown venues would go uptown to "The Grill" after their gigs to jam into the night with black musicians. The Crawford Grill was a meeting spot for people of all colors who loved jazz.

The club's fourth incarnation, which re-opened in 2003 as "Crawford Grill on the Square" at Station Square, closed in early 2006.

The Crawford Grill, which is a distinct building from the "Crawford Grill on the Square", was put up for sale in November 2006."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawford_Grill


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,LilyHunt
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 12:37 AM

I like my jazz like I like my men - hot, well constructed and none too bright - so Paul Whiteman always bored me. He did help move popular jazz out of the instrumental-two verses-chorus rut but he's too cerebral, too slow and frankly too gimmicky. (That asthmatic "cha-cha" noise in Charleston still annoys me). He did apply considerable musicianship, reached out to the Gershwins and others,and coordinated one of the first big(ish) bands, but to me he's still the Backstreet Boy of jazz. Give me a nice uncomplicated Scrappy Lambert number any day!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: GUEST,LilyHunt
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 12:55 AM

LOL Sorry, folks, didn't read far enough down to realize how far the discussion had moved on!


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 08:24 AM

LilyHunt, Mudcat discussions often weave in and out of a particular topic. So your returning us to the "main" topic of this thread is fine no matter how many other side roads we've traveled since we focused on that topic.

And-speaking of sidebar comments- I want to compliment you on your writing in your first post to this thread, especially this sentence "I like my jazz like I like my men - hot, well constructed and none too bright - so Paul Whiteman always bored me."

That said, I suppose what you wrote was a bit sexist. But I ,for one, will forgive you (not that you want or need my forgiveness).

:o)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 02:15 PM

Lox, Have you found any old discography c.1900 ?
We really have no idea of how the early N. O. and other musicians played their music.

(Band music is easier, since we have written scores and early band instruments from the Civil War period on have been preserved.)


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Lox
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 03:10 PM

I'm going in to the music Library tomorrow with just that intent in mind.

While I'm there I plan to get something about the develoment of guitar styles and improvisation on other instruments through the decades. through the ages, and while I'm at it the Chick Sher Jazz Theory book.


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 07:03 PM

Azizi,

Oh the sleight against the intelligence of jazz musicians! Charlie Parker was quite well-read. Louis had the intelligence to change the face of American music. Don't think the Duke would have gone for that evaluation either. I think she may have seen "Young Man With A Horn" with Kirk Douglas.

Whiteman was a bully and was known to punch out band members. Also, he looked
like Oliver Hardy but not as nice a person.

There was a notable contempt by some jazz musicians for "band chicks", the early jazz groupies because some of them looked for one-nighters and looked down upon their prey or they were too easy to score. It's forgotten that many jazz musicians were family people.
Frank


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Subject: RE: Paul Whiteman-King of Jazz?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 09 - 08:23 PM

Whiteman had four wives and five children. His up and down swings made him a hard man to live with. His fourth wife stayed with him for 37 years, until his death. It seems it took a lot of practice before he could become one of the "family people."
He began his professional music career playing viola with the Denver and San Francisco symphony orchestras, but found that jazz would double his pay.
He brought more good musicians and vocalists into the light than any other band leader and paid them well. This is his real legacy.
He was first to hire a full-time female vocalist, Mildred Bailey.

He played the jazz most people wanted to hear and made millions. He was not a creative jazz musician, but took the rough edges off jazz and the world listened. Symphonic music remained part of his jazz music; he said, in a NY Times interview, "You'll never learn to bounce in jazz if you don't know your Bach and Beethoven."
He was a strong believer in careful arrangements, thus was disliked by those who preferred improvisization.

He became so popular that at one time he had almost 50 bands playing under his name.
Most of the above from musicianguide.com


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