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Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
Paul Whiteman Orchestra 1928 left to right: Roy Bargy, Lennie Hayton. standing Paul Whiteman. seated: Irving Friedman, Michael Pingitore, George Marsh. standing left: Charles Gaylord, Eddie Pinder, Austin Young, Min Leibrook, Rube Crozier, Charles Strickfaden. standing right: Kurt Dieterle, Mischa Russell, Marty Malneck, Charles Margulis, Wilber Hall, Mike Trafficante, Roy Mayer, Chester Hazlett. standing back row: Frankie Trumbauer, Bill Rank, Jack Fulton, Bix Beiderbecke, Boyce Cullen, Harry Goldfeild.

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra was the most popular band of the 1920s and represented the apex of jazz to the general public. Over the years, critics and some musicians like Eddie Condon, have not had kind words to say about the band and have tended to represent Whiteman as a bad influence on the music in his attempts to “Make a lady out of Jazz”.

The title of “The King Of Jazz” which Whiteman was billed as seems somewhat politically incorrect these days, but in the 1920s he dominated the scene and hired the best White hot musicians like Bix BeiderbeckeFrankie TrumbauerEddie LangJoe VenutiJack Teagarden and many more to play in his band.

 Paul Whiteman greatly enriched American music by commissioning George Gershwin to write Rhapsody In Blue which became his orchestra’s signature tune. He also “discovered” Bing Crosby and featured him in Paul Whiteman’s Rhythm Boys, and gave the career of Hoagy Carmichael a boost, by recording several of Hoagy’s songs early in his career. Jazz singer Mildred Bailey also rose to fame in the orchestra in the 1930s.

Paul Whiteman Orchestra 1923So, what was it that has led Whiteman’s name to be dragged through the mud in the annals of Jazz history? Paul Whiteman being the most popular Jazz band leader of the Jazz Age is blamed for the racism in America that denied African-American musicians the credit that they deserved in the history of Jazz.

If there is such a thing as the “King of Jazz” the title belongs to Louis Armstrong, although that may not have been clear to most people in the 1920s. Whiteman is also criticized for not hiring African-American musicians to play in his band, but this argument ignores the commercial realities of the period.

Paul Whiteman was clearly not a racist. He commissioned Duke Ellington to write for his modern music series, recorded with Paul Robeson and Billie Holiday, and hired Don Redman as an arranger in the 1930s and was generally held in high regards as a person by musicians both Black and White.

The worst that can be leveled at Whiteman was that he was a businessman. His band was wildly successful financially, and quite often his music sounds commercial and sweet, especially when compared to the top African-American Jazz bands of the era.

Despite that, Whiteman made some very good Jazz records in the 1920s such as SanWashboard BluesMississippi MudWhiteman StompWang Wang Blues and I’m Coming, Virginia.

His interest in making symphonic Jazz led the way for generations of Jazz musicians as diverse as Miles Davis, Gil Evans, The Modern Jazz Quartet and Wynton Marsalis, who may not directly cite Whiteman as an influence, but have certainly walked down the path that he blazed at points in their careers.

Also Hear: Paul Whiteman On The Air

Thanks to Dennis Pereyra for making this page possible.

Additional thanks go to Dave Bartholomew, Dave Dixon, Owen Miller, Peter Pellbring, Richard Unger, James Gallup and Scott and Mark of Vintage Music Company for their help with the recordings on this page. 

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
Click Here For The Discography
Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

Artist Instrument
Oscar Alder Violin
Durelle Alexander Vocals
Bob Alexy Trumpet
The American Quartet Vocals
Maurice Ancher Violin
Al Armer Brass Bass, String Bass
Harry Azinsky Violin
Mildred Bailey Vocals
Della Baker Vocals
Elsie Baker Vocals
George Bamford Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Roy Bargy Piano, Arranger
George Barnes Guitar
Max Barr Violin
Harry Barris Piano, Vocals
Jack Barsby Brass Bass
Teddy Bartell Trumpet
Franklyn Baur Vocals
Bix Beiderbecke Cornet
Jack Bell Flute
Walter Bell Bassoon
Bunny Berigan Trumpet
Vic Berton Drums
Saul Blumenthal Violin
Benny Bonacio Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Abe Borodkin Cello
Herb Borodkin Viola
Perry Botkin Guitar
John Bowman Violin, Viola
Jimmy Brierly Vocals
Jerry Brooks Trumpet
Steve Brown String Bass
The Brox Sisters Vocals
Henry Busse Trumpet
Billy Butterfield Trumpet
Hale Byers Clarinet, Flute, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone
Bobby Byrne Trombone
Al Caiolla Guitar
Al Campbell Vocals
Vincent Capone Flute
Hoagy Carmichael Guest Piano, Vocals
Edmund Carradi Violin
Jim Cassidy Trombone
Bill Challis Piano, Arranger
Fritz Ciccone Guitar
Don Clark Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Helen Clark Vocals
Norman Clark Vocals
Murray Cohan Oboe
Leon Cohen Saxophone
Fred Cook Violin
John Cordaro Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Sax, Tenor Saxophone
Bing Crosby Vocals
Frank Croxton Vocals
Rube Crozier Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Bassoon, English Horn, Flute
Boyce Cullen Trombone, Vocals
Bob Cusumano Trumpet
Chick Dahlsten Trombone
Bernard Daly Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Danny d’Andrea Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Ken Darby Vocals
Ramona Davies Piano, Vocals
Vaughn de Leath Vocals
Clarke Dennis Vocals
Phil Dewey Vocals
Kurt Dieterle Violin
Vic d’Ippolito Trumpet
Jimmy Dorsey Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Cornet
Tommy Dorsey Trombone, Trumpet
Art Drellinger Tenor Saxophone
Al Duffy Violin
Jack Eaton Violin
Walt Edelstein Violin
Abe Edison Cello
Joan Edwards Vocals
N. M. Fargarson Flute
Max Farley Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Flute
Morey Feld Drums
Harold Feldman Various Reeds
Frank Ferara Steel Guitar
Herman Fink Drums
Bob Fishelson Trumpet
George Ford Flute
The Four Modernaires Vocals
Fred Fradkin Violin
Anthony Franchini Guitar
Sal Franzella Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Izzy Friedman Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Jack Fulton Trombone, Vocals, Vocaphone
Al Gallodoro Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Frank Gallodoro Various Reeds
Charles Gaylord Violin, Vocals
Paul Geil Trumpet
George Gershwin Piano
Wilfred Glenn Vocals
Fred Glickman Violin
Harry Goldfield Trumpet
Larry Gomar Drums, Vibraphone
Ross Gorman Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Tommy Gott Trumpet
Gloria Grafton Vocals
Vincent Grande Trombone
Emanuel Green Violin
Irving Greenwald Alto Saxophone
Ferdie Grofe Piano, Arranger
Jose Gutierrez Trombone
Wilbur Hall Trombone, Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
Charles Harrison Vocals
Lenny Hartman Tenor Saxophone
John Hause Vocals
John Hauser Vocals
Herbie Haymer Tenor Saxophone
Lennie Hayton Piano, Celeste
Chester Hazlett Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Peggy Healy Vocals
Walter Hegner Various Reeds
Sammy Heiss Brass Bass
Julius Held Violin
Gus Helleberg Brass Bass
Jack Henderson Tenor Saxophone
V. Hold Vocals
Billie Holiday Guest Vocals
Allan Holt Vocals
Frank Howard Vocals
Fritz Hummel Trombone
Mildred Hunt Vocals
Ena Indermauer Vocals
Lewis James Vocals
Buster Johnson Trombone
Howard Kay Violin
Nat Kazebier Trumpet
Monty Kelly Trumpet
Eddie King Organ, Sleigh Bells
The King’s Jesters Vocals
The King’s Men Vocals
Manny Klein Trumpet
Olive Kline Vocals
Carl Kress Guitar, Banjo
Don Lamond Drummer
Otto Landau Violin
Eddie Lang Guitar, Banjo
Jeannie Lang Vocals
Henry Lange Piano
Bob Lawrence Vocals
Rollo Laylan Drums
Skip Layton Trombone
Min Leibrook Bass Saxophone, Brass Bass
Craig Leitch Vocals
W. Lennartz Cello
Frank Leoncavallo Cello
Jack Lesberg String Bass
Sam Lewis Trombone
Rosa Linda Piano
Fud Livingston Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Mundell Lowe Guitar
Warren Luce Slide Whistle
Bud Lynn Vocals
Tom Macey Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Frank Magnoni Violin
Matt Malneck Violin, Viola
Wingy Manone Vocals
Charles Margulis Trumpet
George Marsh Drums
Chet Martin Drums
Hal Matthews Trombone
Roy Maxon Trombone
Red Mayer Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute, Piccolo, Oboe, Bassoon
Bob Mayhew Trumpet, Cornet
Jack Mayhew Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Nye Mayhew Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
??? Mazzuchi Violin
Ray McDermott Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Harold McDonald Drums, Vibraphone
Murray McEachern Trombone
Red McKenzie Vocals
Hal McLean Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Oboe
Norman McPherson Brass Bass
Johnny Mercer Vocals
Art Miller String Bass
Dolly Mitchell Vocals
Miff Mole Trombone
Joe Mooney Piano-Accordion
Don Moore Trumpet
Jimmy Morreale Trumpet
Gus Mueller Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Lambert Murphy Vocals
Billy Murray Vocals
Nat Natoli Trumpet
Larry Neill Trumpet
Dave Newman Violin
Red Nichols Trumpet
Red Norvo Xylophone
Rudy Novak Trumpet
Donald Novis Vocals
Phil Ohman Piano
Pierre Olker Brass Bass
S. Pasternack Viola
Ben Pellman Violin
Leonard Pennario Piano
Harry Perella Piano, Celeste
Mario Perry Piano-Accordion, Violin
Leo Pevsner Violin
Fred Pfaff Brass Bass
The Pickens Sisters Vocals
Max Pilzer Violin
Eddie Pinder Trumpet
Mike Pingitore Banjo, Guitar
Vincent Pirro Piano-Accordion, Piano
Milton Prinz Cello
Herb Quigley Drums
Bill Rank Trombone
Casper Reardon Harp
Harry Reser Banjo
Milt Rettenberg Celeste
The (New) Rhythm Boys Vocals
The (Original) Rhythm Boys Vocals
Aldo Ricci Violin
Gladys Rice Vocals
Tom Richley Drums
Al Rinker Vocals
Paul Robeson Vocals
Willard Robison Piano
Willie Rodriguez Drums
Ruth Rogers Vocals
The Rollickers Vocals
The Romancers Vocals
Tony Romano Guitar
The Rondoliers Quartet Vocals
Joe Rosenblatt Cello
Sam Rubinowitch Saxophone
Joe Rushton Bass Saxophone
Mischa Russell Violin
Art Ryerson Guitar
Tom Satterfield Piano, Cello
Jules Schacter Violin
Harold Schaer Tenor Saxophone
Bill Schumann Cello
Bill Seckler Vocals
Andy Secrest Cornet
Artie Shapiro String Bass
E. Lyle Sharpe Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Ed Shaughnessey Drums
Elliott Shaw Vocals
Frank Siegrist Trumpet
Frank Signorelli Piano
Charlie Small Trombone
Ed Smalle Vocals
Elmer Smithers Trombone
Southern Fall Colored Quartet Vocals
John Sperzel Brass Bass, Vocals
Robert Spokaney Violin
Ed Stannard Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Charles Strickfaden Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Oboe, English Horn
Harry Struble Violin
Dana Suesse Piano
Irene Taylor Vocals
Charlie Teagarden Trumpet
Jack Teagarden Trombone, Vocals
Allan Thompson Trombone
George Tjordy Violin
Mabel Todd Vocals
Gilbert Torres Guitar
Mike Trafficante Brass Bass, String Bass
Ricky Trent Trumpet
Frankie Trumbauer C-melody Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone, Clarinet, Bassoon
Raymond Turner Piano, Celeste
Jean Vance Vocals
Joe Venuti Violin
Frank Victor Guitar
The Vocordians Vocals
Don Waddilove Trumpet
Eddie Wade Trumpet
Carl Wagner Brass Bass
Harry Walker Viola
Bart Wallace Trumpet
Ezell Watson Saxophone
Buddy Weed Piano
Jerry Weiner Saxophone
Alvy West Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
George Wettling Drums
Bob White Drums
Paul Whiteman Leader, Conductor, Violin
Earl Wild Piano
Herb Winfield Trombone
Austin “Skin” Young Violin, Vocals
Sam Zimberlist Viola
Sol Zimberlist Cello
Fritz Zimmerman Yodeling
Moe Zudecoff (Buddy Morrow) Trombone

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

Title Director Year
King Of Jazz John Murray Anderson 1930
Thanks A Million Roy Del Ruth 1935
Strike Up the Band Busby Berkeley 1940
Atlantic City Ray McCarey 1944
Rhapsody in Blue Irving Rapper 1945
The Fabulous Dorseys Alfred E. Green 1947

 

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