Just a Little Drink

Artist: Paul Whiteman
Album: Sweet and Low Down: Vol. 3, Original 1925-1928 Recordings

Bix Beiderbecke had not yet joined the massive orchestra of Paul Whiteman, a.k.a. the 1920s “King of Jazz,” when this tune was waxed in 1925. Whiteman’s musical legacy from this era remains underappreciated: He was hobbled by the hype of his nickname, though many excellent jazz musicians and arrangers passed through his ranks, his orchestra’s forays into “symphonic jazz” can be seen as forerunners of the Third Stream, and his society-dance-band distillations served to introduce the idea of jazz music to many Americans. Percolating with humorous, pie-eyed longing, “Just a Little Drink” offers something from the pop/novelty end of Whiteman’s musical spectrum and serves as a reminder that the term “jazz” encompassed a great deal of popular music in the 1920s that may not fit our modern definitions at all.

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