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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. 

Click Here For The Discography

Oscar AlderViolin
Durelle AlexanderVocals
Bob AlexyTrumpet
The American QuartetVocals
Maurice AncherViolin
Al ArmerBrass Bass, String Bass
Harry AzinskyViolin
Mildred BaileyVocals
Della BakerVocals
Elsie BakerVocals
George BamfordClarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Roy BargyPiano, Arranger
George BarnesGuitar
Max BarrViolin
Harry BarrisPiano, Vocals
Jack BarsbyBrass Bass
Teddy BartellTrumpet
Franklyn BaurVocals
Bix BeiderbeckeCornet
Jack BellFlute
Walter BellBassoon
Bunny BeriganTrumpet
Vic BertonDrums
Saul BlumenthalViolin
Benny BonacioClarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Abe BorodkinCello
Herb BorodkinViola
Perry BotkinGuitar
John BowmanViolin, Viola
Jimmy BrierlyVocals
Jerry BrooksTrumpet
Steve BrownString Bass
The Brox SistersVocals
Henry BusseTrumpet
Billy ButterfieldTrumpet
Hale ByersClarinet, Flute, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone
Bobby ByrneTrombone
Al CaiollaGuitar
Al CampbellVocals
Vincent CaponeFlute
Hoagy CarmichaelGuest Piano, Vocals
Edmund CarradiViolin
Jim CassidyTrombone
Bill ChallisPiano, Arranger
Fritz CicconeGuitar
Don ClarkClarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Helen ClarkVocals
Norman ClarkVocals
Murray CohanOboe
Leon CohenSaxophone
Fred CookViolin
John CordaroClarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Sax, Tenor Saxophone
Bing CrosbyVocals
Frank CroxtonVocals
Rube CrozierClarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Bassoon, English Horn, Flute
Boyce CullenTrombone, Vocals
Bob CusumanoTrumpet
Chick DahlstenTrombone
Bernard DalyClarinet, Alto Saxophone
Danny d’AndreaClarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Ken DarbyVocals
Ramona DaviesPiano, Vocals
Vaughn de LeathVocals
Clarke DennisVocals
Phil DeweyVocals
Kurt DieterleViolin
Vic d’IppolitoTrumpet
Jimmy DorseyClarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Cornet
Tommy DorseyTrombone, Trumpet
Art DrellingerTenor Saxophone
Al DuffyViolin
Jack EatonViolin
Walt EdelsteinViolin
Abe EdisonCello
Joan EdwardsVocals
N. M. FargarsonFlute
Max FarleyClarinet, Alto Saxophone, Flute
Morey FeldDrums
Harold FeldmanVarious Reeds
Frank FeraraSteel Guitar
Herman FinkDrums
Bob FishelsonTrumpet
George FordFlute
The Four ModernairesVocals
Fred FradkinViolin
Anthony FranchiniGuitar
Sal FranzellaClarinet, Alto Saxophone
Izzy FriedmanClarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Jack FultonTrombone, Vocals, Vocaphone
Al GallodoroClarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Frank GallodoroVarious Reeds
Charles GaylordViolin, Vocals
Paul GeilTrumpet
George GershwinPiano
Wilfred GlennVocals
Fred GlickmanViolin
Harry GoldfieldTrumpet
Larry GomarDrums, Vibraphone
Ross GormanClarinet, Alto Saxophone
Tommy GottTrumpet
Gloria GraftonVocals
Vincent GrandeTrombone
Emanuel GreenViolin
Irving GreenwaldAlto Saxophone
Ferdie GrofePiano, Arranger
Jose GutierrezTrombone
Wilbur HallTrombone, Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
Charles HarrisonVocals
Lenny HartmanTenor Saxophone
John HauseVocals
John HauserVocals
Herbie HaymerTenor Saxophone
Lennie HaytonPiano, Celeste
Chester HazlettClarinet, Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
Peggy HealyVocals
Walter HegnerVarious Reeds
Sammy HeissBrass Bass
Julius HeldViolin
Gus HellebergBrass Bass
Jack HendersonTenor Saxophone
V. HoldVocals
Billie HolidayGuest Vocals
Allan HoltVocals
Frank HowardVocals
Fritz HummelTrombone
Mildred HuntVocals
Ena IndermauerVocals
Lewis JamesVocals
Buster JohnsonTrombone
Howard KayViolin
Nat KazebierTrumpet
Monty KellyTrumpet
Eddie KingOrgan, Sleigh Bells
The King’s JestersVocals
The King’s MenVocals
Manny KleinTrumpet
Olive KlineVocals
Carl KressGuitar, Banjo
Don LamondDrummer
Otto LandauViolin
Eddie LangGuitar, Banjo
Jeannie LangVocals
Henry LangePiano
Bob LawrenceVocals
Rollo LaylanDrums
Skip LaytonTrombone
Min LeibrookBass Saxophone, Brass Bass
Craig LeitchVocals
W. LennartzCello
Frank LeoncavalloCello
Jack LesbergString Bass
Sam LewisTrombone
Rosa LindaPiano
Fud LivingstonClarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Mundell LoweGuitar
Warren LuceSlide Whistle
Bud LynnVocals
Tom MaceyClarinet, Alto Saxophone
Frank MagnoniViolin
Matt MalneckViolin, Viola
Wingy ManoneVocals
Charles MargulisTrumpet
George MarshDrums
Chet MartinDrums
Hal MatthewsTrombone
Roy MaxonTrombone
Red MayerClarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute, Piccolo, Oboe, Bassoon
Bob MayhewTrumpet, Cornet
Jack MayhewAlto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Nye MayhewAlto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
??? MazzuchiViolin
Ray McDermottClarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Harold McDonaldDrums, Vibraphone
Murray McEachernTrombone
Red McKenzieVocals
Hal McLeanClarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Oboe
Norman McPhersonBrass Bass
Johnny MercerVocals
Art MillerString Bass
Dolly MitchellVocals
Miff MoleTrombone
Joe MooneyPiano-Accordion
Don MooreTrumpet
Jimmy MorrealeTrumpet
Gus MuellerClarinet, Alto Saxophone
Lambert MurphyVocals
Billy MurrayVocals
Nat NatoliTrumpet
Larry NeillTrumpet
Dave NewmanViolin
Red NicholsTrumpet
Red NorvoXylophone
Rudy NovakTrumpet
Donald NovisVocals
Phil OhmanPiano
Pierre OlkerBrass Bass
S. PasternackViola
Ben PellmanViolin
Leonard PennarioPiano
Harry PerellaPiano, Celeste
Mario PerryPiano-Accordion, Violin
Leo PevsnerViolin
Fred PfaffBrass Bass
The Pickens SistersVocals
Max PilzerViolin
Eddie PinderTrumpet
Mike PingitoreBanjo, Guitar
Vincent PirroPiano-Accordion, Piano
Milton PrinzCello
Herb QuigleyDrums
Bill RankTrombone
Casper ReardonHarp
Harry ReserBanjo
Milt RettenbergCeleste
The (New) Rhythm BoysVocals
The (Original) Rhythm BoysVocals
Aldo RicciViolin
Gladys RiceVocals
Tom RichleyDrums
Al RinkerVocals
Paul RobesonVocals
Willard RobisonPiano
Willie RodriguezDrums
Ruth RogersVocals
The RollickersVocals
The RomancersVocals
Tony RomanoGuitar
The Rondoliers QuartetVocals
Joe RosenblattCello
Sam RubinowitchSaxophone
Joe RushtonBass Saxophone
Mischa RussellViolin
Art RyersonGuitar
Tom SatterfieldPiano, Cello
Jules SchacterViolin
Harold SchaerTenor Saxophone
Bill SchumannCello
Bill SecklerVocals
Andy SecrestCornet
Artie ShapiroString Bass
E. Lyle SharpeClarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Ed ShaughnesseyDrums
Elliott ShawVocals
Frank SiegristTrumpet
Frank SignorelliPiano
Charlie SmallTrombone
Ed SmalleVocals
Elmer SmithersTrombone
Southern Fall Colored QuartetVocals
John SperzelBrass Bass, Vocals
Robert SpokaneyViolin
Ed StannardClarinet, Alto Saxophone
Charles StrickfadenClarinet, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Oboe, English Horn
Harry StrubleViolin
Dana SuessePiano
Irene TaylorVocals
Charlie TeagardenTrumpet
Jack TeagardenTrombone, Vocals
Allan ThompsonTrombone
George TjordyViolin
Mabel ToddVocals
Gilbert TorresGuitar
Mike TrafficanteBrass Bass, String Bass
Ricky TrentTrumpet
Frankie TrumbauerC-melody Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone, Clarinet, Bassoon
Raymond TurnerPiano, Celeste
Jean VanceVocals
Joe VenutiViolin
Frank VictorGuitar
The VocordiansVocals
Don WaddiloveTrumpet
Eddie WadeTrumpet
Carl WagnerBrass Bass
Harry WalkerViola
Bart WallaceTrumpet
Ezell WatsonSaxophone
Buddy WeedPiano
Jerry WeinerSaxophone
Alvy WestClarinet, Alto Saxophone
George WettlingDrums
Bob WhiteDrums
Paul WhitemanLeader, Conductor, Violin
Earl WildPiano
Herb WinfieldTrombone
Austin “Skin” YoungViolin, Vocals
Sam ZimberlistViola
Sol ZimberlistCello
Fritz ZimmermanYodeling
Moe Zudecoff (Buddy Morrow)Trombone

King Of JazzJohn Murray Anderson1930
Thanks A MillionRoy Del Ruth1935
Strike Up the BandBusby Berkeley1940
Atlantic CityRay McCarey1944
Rhapsody in BlueIrving Rapper1945
The Fabulous DorseysAlfred E. Green1947


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