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View Full Version : Off Topic: HTOTW#15 Battle of the Bands, Whiteman vs Hylton



Terry Porritt
17-04-2004, 04:30 PM
For new-comers I live in a 1920s time warp, where jazz almost ceased to exist after August 1931 when Bix Beiderbecke died :)

HTOTW stands for Hot Tunes of The Week, and the sites we visit to hear the music mostly stream in Real Audio, so you need a Real Player. or a Real Player look-alike.

Battles of the Bands were popular in New Orleans, where jazz bands competed to outplay one another. When the jazz moved north to Chicago and New York in the 1920s after the US government closed down the notorious Storeyville area, the tradition continued.

One famous "Battle of the Bands" was at the Graystone Ballroom in Detroit between the (white) Jean Goldkette Orchestra in which Bix Beiderbecke really came to the fore,and the (black) Fletcher Henderson Orchestra.
It was a resounding victory for the Goldkette Orchestra.

This week, we are going to re-enact a Battle of the Bands between the British orchestra of Jack Hylton and the famous Paul Whiteman Orchestra which has featured predominantly in this HTOTW series.

Jack Hylton had one of the leading bands in Britain during the 1920s, he followed the music of Paul Whiteman and was known as the Paul Whiteman of Britain (or England if you like :) ) A resumé of his career is on this site of Pete Faints' (http://www.petefaint.co.uk/jackhylton/BIO1.HTM), where we are getting the Hylton music from.

Paul Whiteman we have talked about before, but for those that want to read up about him go to the The Red Hot Jazz (http://www.redhotjazz.com/whiteman.html) site.

We are going to start with a tune called "When Day is Done", now this is not particularly hot, I'd even go so far to say it is rather cool for the roaring twenties :).
Those who remember the Lord Peter Wimsey crime series on radio will instantly recognise the signature tune of the program.

Here (http://www.petefaint.co.uk/jackhylton/whendayisdone.ram) is Jack Hylton on August 19th 1927 playing When Day is Done.

Now for the Whiteman (http://www.redhotjazz.com/songs/whiteman/whndydn1.ram) version, recorded a bit earlier on June 8th 1927.
The muted trumpet is Henry Busse, a long time member of the Whiteman orchestra until he was sacked in a fit of pique over Bix Beiderbecke being given star billing.

Ok, I think we'll call that a draw!

Next tune is "Louise", this is from the film "Innocents of Paris" that starred another favourite of mine Maurice Chevalier. In fact I suppose that tune will be forever associated with Chevalier.

First let's hear Jack Hylton and his Orchestra with Sam Browne vocalising on 31 May 1929 (http://www.petefaint.co.uk/jackhylton/louise.ram), and that is followed by the Whiteman (http://www.redhotjazz.com/songs/whiteman/louise.ram) version again recorded a little earlier on 15 March 1929.

Well the Hylton version was pretty good, but when compared with Whiteman..
no contest, no-one can compete against Bing Crosby, vocalist on the Whiteman side. I think Bix Beiderbecke is buried somewhere in there, but obviously the worse for wear as he is not prominent at all.
I declare Whiteman the winner by a wide margin.

Speeding up the tempo a little, lets listen to "Muddy Water", again as played by both bands, and recorded only a little time apart.
Incidently it becomes apparent that Jack Hylton avidly collected the Whiteman records as they appeared, shipped them over the Atlantic, and then recorded his version of the tune just a matter of weeks later.

Here is Hyltons (http://www.petefaint.co.uk/jackhylton/muddywater.ram) version with Al Starita vocal on 17 May 1927.

Almost a foregone conclusion as Bing is vocalist on the Whiteman side, lets listen to Whiteman (http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/Whiteman/muddywtr.ram). Yes indeed it has that extra drive and rhythm and depth compared to the Hylton version.
I declare Whiteman the winner again :)

Now to finish this HTOTW lets compare two stomps, the "Hylton Stomp", 12 October 1932, and "Whiteman Stomp" 18 August 1927.

First Whiteman Stomp (http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/Whiteman/whstomp1.ram).

Now Hylton stomp (http://www.petefaint.co.uk/jackhylton/hyltonstomp.ram)

Hmm, I think the trumpet on the Hylton recording is Jack Jackson, and it is pretty good.
Difficult to decide, I'll make that a draw.

Final score Whiteman: 2, Hylton: 0, drawn 2.