Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Excellent, in its own way
bukhtan | Chicago, Illinois, USA | 06/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, Paul Whiteman was NOT the King of Jazz. But he was the "King of Jazz". Get it?
Very likely, this very fine musician and leader may in fact have started the big band craze, though perhaps Jean Goldkette did at least as much, especially if you consider the Casa Loma Orchestra one of his vehicles. And Duke Ellington SAYS he was a major influence. Though I can't really say that I hear it in Duke's music.
In any event, this is a varied and entertaining overview of Whiteman's earlier music, from the period in which he really mattered. He commissioned George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", and here it is, the first performance, with Gershwin himself at the piano. Other numbers feature Bing Crosby before he became intolerable, pure-melodied Mildred Bailey, the great Jack Teagarden, who could sing NEARLY as well as he could play trombone (no valves, no kidding), Frankie Trumbauer on his C-melody, and of course Bix Beiderbecke, the real reason Whiteman's music has survived.
Sitting through this that or the other assemblage of Whiteman, waiting for Beiderbecke to solo, I've got to admit, it can be a drag. But really, this guy was a positive force in American music, even though some of these arrangements (especially by those by F. Grofe) may have overreached themselves, even though there's some pretty goofy minstrelizing now and then (lot of singing about "darkies"), and even though he wasn't the king of jazz, though some of his musicians, like Big T. and Bix, certainly played it and even wound up canonized in Jazz History. But whatever "kind" of music it is, it certainly is interesting to listen to now, at least in this judicious selection."