Re: [RedHotJazz] Did Whiteman Steal form Oliver?
- on 28/4/06 16:32, Albert Haim at alberthaim@... wrote:
> --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Walter Five <walterfive_666@...> wrote:On the substantive issue I very much doubt that Whiteman took much from
>> Oliver was being dismissive; he knew what was being stolen from
> him: guys like Paul Whiteman were playing luke-warm Jazz
> "arrangements" at best, and being hailed as "King" in their own right.
> I cannot let that comment pass without expressing my complete
> disagreement. Stolen? Since when does a certain type of music belong
> exclusively to an individual, a group of individuals, or a race? You
> are echoing the "politically correct" views espoused by Ken
> Burns/Wynton Marsalis and company.
> What do you mean by Whiteman stealing from Oliver?
Oliver. If he did it certainly had very little effect. Any literal stealing
is likely to have been in the other direction. Oliver had much more need of
Whiteman's classically based arranging tricks "to keep up with the times"
than Whiteman had of Oliver's strengths.
But you seem to be making a more general point also. It can hardly be
disputed that white musicians did 'borrow' from African-Americans and then
perform what they had borrowed in venues in which black musicians could not
compete on equal terms or at all because of segregation, prejudice, union
rules, or all three. That is what makes it appropriate to talk of stealing
rather than sharing. To suggest that it is merely "politically correct" to
point that out is morally quite out of order (or a naive attempt to abolish
prejudice and segregation retrospectively).
And African-American musicians did resent it bitterly (see Dave Peyton's
columns in the Chicago Defender for one source) and in my view quite
justifiably. As late as 1934 Cab Calloway on his visit to Britain in that
year wrote an article (which of course I can't actually find at the moment)
called "Grand Larceny in Split Commons" in which he expressed trenchant
opinions on the subject. The process of taking and slightly adapting
African-American music for presentation in segregated venues continued well
in to the rock and roll era.
The question of the extent of the "guilt", if any, of any particular
individual is altogether a more complex matter.
Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
> Maybe you are right but I wonder how Oliver could listen to Whiteman,Everybody bought Paul Whiteman records.
> I mean , was he allowed to enter a record store that is dedicated to
> noncolored artists music and buy records ? Or maybe he entered one of
> Whiteman's gigs ? Is it possible ?