Paul Whiteman

In Chapter 7, you read about a concert put together by bandleader Paul Whiteman.
As the Wikipedia entry (Wikipedia page (Links to an external site.)) on Whiteman states:
Whiteman’s place in the history of early jazz is somewhat controversial. Detractors
suggest that his ornately orchestrated music was jazz in name only, lacking the
genre’s improvisational and emotional depth, and co-opted the innovations of black
musicians. Defenders note that Whiteman’s fondness for jazz was genuine. He worked
with black musicians as much as was feasible during an era of racial segregation.
This raises a number of questions: Was Whiteman ultimately helpful in bringing jazz to
new audiences? And were those audiences able to move from his “sweet” jazz into the
more authentic version created by African American artists? Was it important that jazz
moved into the mainstream?
Please share your thoughts on the matter. Consider the following:
• do you think Whiteman’s influence and actions were ultimately positive for
• what do you make of his motivations?
• do you think it’s at all fair to call him the “King of Jazz?” If you could choose a
different king, who would you choose?
• do you think it was a natural evolution that moved jazz into mainstream
popularity–in other words–do you think this would have happened even
without Whiteman?

Write about 250 words about this topic. You can cite specific examples from the
wikipedia page (or another source) to back up your opinions.

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