On February 12, 1924 at Aeolian Hall on 42nd Street, Paul Whiteman and his Palais Royal Orchestra presented An Experiment in Modern Music. Whiteman mounted the concert to demonstrate to the attendant New York musical establishment (which included the likes of John Phillip Sousa and Sergei Rachmaninoff) how "to make a lady out of jazz", as he put it at the time, by showing how the apparently horribly discordant new music (which he represented through the squawks, wild rhythms and general hokum of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's 1917 "Livery Stable Blues") contained important elements of what he termed "the true form of jazz" that, for all its flaws, could at the very least be "a stepping stone which will make it very simple for the masses to understand, and therefore, enjoy symphony and opera." The program opened with the ODJB abomination and progressed through a series of refinements, culminating with, first, the premier of George Gershwin's brilliant tone poem Rhapsody in Blue, and, finally, Elgar's Pomp And Circumstance.
Whiteman's worthy if somewhat forced effort with that 1924 "purely educational experiment" gives us an important contemporary perspective on the Age of Jazz cultural caldron. Jesse Cloninger opens Oregon Festival of American Music 2015 joined by guest pianist Ted Rosenthal, and a host of the Festival's veteran vocalists and sidemen for an evening that pays tribute to Whiteman's effort that night with a similar overview concert that excludes (sorry) Elgar, includes "Livery Stable Blues" and a command performance of that original, 1924 version of Gershwin's masterpiece, but then offers our own "90 years hence" view of what the age was all about!
We'll sample the best of the 1920s tonight, from the earnest emotional strains of the waning years of vaudeville and the scintillating playfulness of the emerging American musical comedy, to the hot and exotic jazz both uptown and down, and the vocalists who were bringing the threads of jazz, the blues and other musical impulses to mainstream popular culture on the stage, radio and shellac. A special counterpoint of the evening will be a tribute to the extraordinary Boswell Sisters, whose late '20s, early '30s sides backed by the studio-only Dorsey unit are wonderful examples not only of the 1920s Age of Jazz but of the Age of Swing to come.
(1920) interpolated into Sinbad B. G. DeSylva, Al Jolson, Vincent Rose (w/m)
| ||My Man| (1921) Casino de Paris 1920 Paris qui Jazz Jacques Charles (fr), Channing Pollock (en), Albert Willemetz (fr) (w) Maurice Yvain (m) [translation of Mon Homme]