BERLIN HAT DEN JAZZ
The violist and big band leader Paul Whiteman was of Euro-American origin. In June 1926 he gave several concerts at the Große Schauspielhaus. He visited Berlin with a large symphony orchestra. With his ´socially acceptable`jazz, he immediately reached the hearts of most Berliners. For the first time they saw George Gershwin’s „Rhapsody in Blue“ live with him. Soon he was considered the King of Jazz. Because of the nearness of his music to the European one, he became the most important role model for the local musicians. He elegantly managed to combine the sheet players in his orchestra with hot soloists and their solo passages (see Knauer, Wolfram, Play yourself, man !, Stuttgart 2019, p. 48) .His ambitious jazz, one side said, refined originally wild music! (cf. Bratfisch, Rainer, Jazz in Berlin, Berlin 2014, p. 53).
Paul Whiteman and the Radio
Whiteman’s striking success prompted jazz to become an integral part of the radio in 1926. The Deutschlandsender was the first radio in Germany to start operating in 1923 in Berlin’s Voxhaus on Potsdamerstrasse. Popular music soon filled most of the program. From 1926 onwards, this type of jazz played an important part in it.
On the other side Whiteman rejected the fans of true jazz. „He contrived jazz and wanted to differentiate him from the Afro-American original, the authentic one“ (cf. ibid.)!
What could not be taken away from him was his unmistakable feeling for real talents of jazz musicians. His orchestra was a real talent pool.
Also see: KIND OF GOLDEN – Friedrichstadt