Text Box: JAZZ autographs
Text Box: HARMONIE AUTOGRAPHS AND MUSIC INC.

MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD

Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247

 

Price: $300.00

NEAR MINT CONDITION

PAUL WHITEMAN - BAND LEADER

Autographed “Jazz Age” 8” x 10” sepia glossy noir publicity photograph of Paul Whiteman conducting his reed section.  The photograph would have to date to c. 1935, as the oboist  is African-American.  Left to right, bassoonist, Walter Bell, alto saxophonist Gus Mueller, we cannot determine the other two players at this time.

 

Whiteman (1890-1967) was known as “The King of Jazz”.  Born in Colorado, he studied violin and viola and was hired by the Denver Symphony Orchestra in 1907 as a violist.  In 1914 he was hired by the People’s Orchestra of San Francisco, Not the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra as some biographies claim.  He enlisted in the Navy during World War I and led a 40 piece brass band.  In 1918 with the band and symphony orchestra experience behind him, with the coming of popular music and the end of rag time, he put together a dance orchestra, larger than a dance band and smaller than a chamber orchestra to play new music.  The band initially played in San Francisco, moved to Santa Barbara and then Los Angeles.  With the demand and growth, they then moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey and then onto New York City.  By 1920 he was the most recognized dance band in the Country with many copying his format.  Along the way he hired composer Ferd Grofé as a pianist and arranger and also premiered and popularized his “Grand Canyon Suite”.  Whiteman’s band configuration included many instruments not used regularly in jazz as it went forward including an oboe and bassoon.  That said, he added Red Norvo and his xylophone to his orchestra, a first at the time and the xylophone in the guise of the marimba and vibraphone remain in the jazz pantheon of instruments today.  With 30 musicians, on February 12, 1924, Whiteman conducted the World Premiere of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the composer at the piano.  The work was to become his calling card. Other hits like “Happy Feet”, “Coquette”, “Dardanella” and “My Blue Heaven” were chart toppers in their day.  Whiteman also had an infectious, charismatic personality, so when the talkies came around with his musical popularity he was a natural for films and in 1929 his acting career started with “The King of Jazz”.  He appeared and various films until 1949.  Radio was also a natural fit for Whiteman’s orchestra and in 1928 his show “The Victory Hour” featured Whiteman and his orchestra, as well as Will Rogers and Al Jolson.  Whiteman had a large number of programs which ran through 1954.

 

A sensational “Jazz Age” photograph which would make a tremendous display piece!