On the occasion of Paul Whiteman's 114th birthday, see
I quoted part of what Norman Gentieu wrote in the introduction to Don Rayno's monumental work on Whiteman.
"It is an irony of fate that much of the literature of jazz has been written by opinionated dilettantes in music and purblind ideologues. Thanks to such self-appointed arbiters of taste, historical and musical verities have been trashed as irrelevant impediments to their reckless rhetoric, and nowhere has this been more dismayingly demonstrated than in the case of Paul Whiteman -who sinned unforgivingly in being proclaimed by the public as the King of Jazz.
Over the years, Whiteman has attracted the attention of blinkered "critics" the way a respectable cat attracts fleas. But, whereas the fleas are doing what comes naturally and without malice aforethought, the gurus of jazzology, rankling with envy of Whiteman's brilliant career, have resorted to mean-spirited disinformation. Rather than attempting to understand and explicate the reasons for Whiteman's unprecedented success, they have opted to put him down with knee-jerk ad hominem attacks, junk aesthetics, and snide opinions, all gussied up in politically correct pieties."
After the quote, I wrote, "I wish I had written that." I still do.
William Youngren also agreed with the late Norman Gentieu. In his foreword to Rayno's tome, Youngren wrote,
"I agree wholeheartedly with everything Mr. Gentieu has written, since my experience of jazz historians and critics, in their relation to Paul Whiteman and his music, has, until recently anyhow, been identical to his: these writers have simply failed to use their ears. Moreover, they have not bothered to investigate Whiteman's actual dealings with jazz musicians in the 1920s, and their attitudes towward him."
Well said. Some jazz historians and critics, as I stated in my previous posting, present views not based on facts and observation, but on their biases and prejudices. John Hammond was politically correct before the phrase existed. Hence his opinion of Whiteman's music.