Jazz history, as written, is sort of an on/off; true/false; yes/no kind of thing--either it's jazz or it ain't jazz. For every 25 bandleaders, solists, etc. whose music "wasn't really jazz," there were a couple of bandleaders or soloists whose music "was jazz." Or may be it was for every 50.
Stan Kenton? Dave Brubeck? George Shearing? Jury's out (coffee break).
Going back to earlier days, Paul Whiteman, Jean Goldkette, Red Nichols? Not really jazz, even when they sounded a lot like it. Waring's Pennsylvanians? The glee club guy, Fred Waring?? Forget it. Vincent Lopez? Nah. Ferde Grofe? The suite writer? Oh, he could capture the basic Dixieland sound on paper, but was it jazz? (One guess.) And so on. (None of these are my conclusions, you understand.)
What do all of the "not jazz" folks have in common? They were popular! Ordinary, everyday people listened to them. Traditionally, jazz is regarded as what The People didn't (and don't) listen to. But a lot of jazz managed to get into the pop records of the post-ODJB period, and today we're going to hear a large number of them, from the big-band-ish early-'20s discs of Paul Whiteman (with their excellent Dixieland-chorus closings) to "hot" and peppy efforts that scream "Break out the flappers"--Whiteman's 1924 San, George Olsen's Hot Aire (1925), Fred Waring's Oh, Baby! (1924), arranger Ferde Grofe's take on Charleston (1925), and Ralph Williams' all-time great rendition of Prince of Wails (1924).
There was a heck of a lot of area between jazz/not jazz. We'll be visiting it today in honor of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's 100th (first recording) anniversary. The ODJB's Dixieland hits opened the door.
To the fabulous sounds, all ripped from my own collection. I should have titled these "Hot Twenties and Late Teens," but the shortened title sounds better:
Click here to hear: Hot Twenties, Part 1 Hot Twenties, Part 2
Oh, Baby! (Don't Say No, Say Maybe) (Donaldson)--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1924
Wang Wang Blues (Mueller-Johnson-Busse)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920
Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1920
San (Oriental Fox Trot)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1924
Nuthin' But (Busse-Ward-Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1923
Charleston (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1925
Memphis Blues (W.C. Handy; Arr: Grofe?)--The Virginians, Dir. Ross Gorman, 1922
I'm Just Wild About Harry--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1922
Hot Aire (Schoebel)--George Olsen and His Music, 1925
Prince of Wails (Schoebel)--Ralph Williams and His Rainbo Orch., 1924
Ma!--One-Step--The Benson Orch. of Chicago, Dir. Roy Bargy, 1921
Down Home Blues--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1924
I'm Gonna Meet My Sweetie Now--Jean Goldkette and His Orch., 1927
Footloose--Carl Fenton's Orch., 1925
Kitten on the Keys (Confrey)--Frank Banta and Jack Austin, Piano Duet, 1922
Arkansas Blues--The Little Ramblers, 1924
String Beans (Owens-Rose)--Vincent Rose and His Montmartre Orch. of Hollywood, 1924
Sweet Emalina, My Gal--One-Step--Earl Fuller's Rector Novelty Orch., 1918
12th St. Rag (Bowman)--Ted Lewis and His Band, 1923
Where Is My Sweetie Hiding?--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1924