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Paul Whiteman, The King of Jazz Vol 1

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Album Review

ASV's Whiteman compilation covers the years 1920-36, which means that it partly overlaps with Collectors' Choice's 20-song RCA-Victor compilation of Whiteman's work. What makes this disc worth owning is that while many of the songs overlap, these are not the same tracks in many instances — several are later re-recordings (Whiteman was already re-cutting his hits in the middle and late 1920s, with the advent of electrical recording). So "Whispering" and "Rhapsody In Blue" are the 1922 and 1927 Victor cuts available elsewhere, but "Wang Wang Blues" is the 1920 version, not the 1927 version, and "Ol' Man River" from March 1928 features Paul Robeson, not Bing Crosby; similarly, "Three O'Clock In the Morning" is the 1926, not the 1922 version. And there are some non-overlapping numbers — the Whiteman band's 1925 recording of the "Charleston," "Whiteman Stomp" from 1927, "Darktown Strutters' Ball" featuring Jack Teagarden as singer and trombonist, and a pair of medleys from 1932, "A Night With Paul Whiteman," parts one and two. Mildred Bailey shows up on "When It's Sleepy Time Down South"; Bix Beiderbecke is featured on "Louisiana" and "You Took Advantage of Me"; and Bing Crosby and violinist Joe Venuti turn up on "Happy Feet." The sound is fair to good, with some surface noise — the quality doesn't match that of the Collectors' Choice disc, but so little of this repeats that it's not wholly fair to compare them. So one needn't be a Whiteman completist to enjoy this disc.


Born: 28 March 1890 in Denver, CO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s

Because press agents dubbed him "The King of Jazz" in the 1920s, Paul Whiteman has always been considered a controversial figure in jazz history. Actually, his orchestra was the most popular during the era and at times (despite its size) it did play very good jazz; perhaps "King of the Jazz Age" would have been a better title. Originally a classically trained violinist, Paul Whiteman led a large Navy band during World War I and always had a strong interest in the popular music of the day. In 1918,...
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