Re: Did Whiteman Steal form Oliver?
- The flow of influences between black and white musicians was not a
one-way street. White musicians found what some of the black musicians
were developing of value and interest, and vice versa. Just a
well-known example: listen to some of Louis Armstrong's early 1930s
sides and compare to the sweet sound of Guy Lombardo.
You describe the influence of black music on white musicians as
"stealing." As I said in my previous post: since when is a music style
the exclusive property of one individual, a band, or a race? And since
when being influenced by another musician or a style is defined as
"stealing"? Bach was influenced by Vivaldi. Would you say that Bach
"stole" from Vivaldi? If you define the influence of black musicians
on white musicians as "stealing," what would you call the fact that
the black musicians "borrowed" (I use the quotes, just as you did) the
diatonic scale from the white musicians as well as most of their
You seem to be under the spell of the "politically correct" theories
that the black musicians were the originators, while the white
musicians were "imitators," "followers", that they did not contribute
in a creative way to the music they played. White musicians were
developing music in the 1920s along their own sensibilities, they were
not just parroting what the blacks were doing. Take musicians like
Miff Mole, Red Nichols, the Dorsey Brothers, Joe Venuti and Eddie
Lang, the Chicagoans, Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, etc. etc.
Their creative output was distinct from that of the black musicians:
they were not just copying what the black musicians were doing, they
were originating their own approach and concepts. Maybe you should
read "Lost Chords" by Richard Sudhalter.
Certainly, there was segregation and prejudices in America in the
1920s (and beyond). But just because segregation existed and the white
musicians had available to them more venues that paid well as compared
to the black musicians, it is inappropriate to assign to the white
musicians the label of "stealing" as you do. Moreover, the
financially successful music played by the white musicians in the
segregated venues was not jazz lifted directly from what the black
musicians were playing, it was dance band music, sometimes hot,
sometimes sweet, sometimes both. But any accusation that the white
musicians "stole" jazz from the black musicians and became rich and
prosperous playing it in segregated venues has no basis in fact. It is
part of the Ken Burns/Wynton Marsalis and company effort to change
history to suit their political agendas.
--- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:
> on 28/4/06 16:32, Albert Haim at alberthaim@... wrote:
> > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Walter Five <walterfive_666@>
> >> 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?
> On the substantive issue I very much doubt that Whiteman took much from
> Oliver. If he did it certainly had very little effect. Any literal
> is likely to have been in the other direction. Oliver had much more
> Whiteman's classically based arranging tricks "to keep up with the
> 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
> perform what they had borrowed in venues in which black musicians
> compete on equal terms or at all because of segregation, prejudice,
> rules, or all three. That is what makes it appropriate to talk of
> rather than sharing. To suggest that it is merely "politically
> point that out is morally quite out of order (or a naive attempt to
> 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
> year wrote an article (which of course I can't actually find at the
> 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
> 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 ?