Leader of one of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s, Whiteman produced recordings that were immensely successful, and press notices often referred to him as the "King of Jazz". (When the term was more loosely defined: referring to practically any popular music with African-American attributes or influences.) Using a large ensemble and exploring many styles of music, Whiteman is perhaps best known for his blending of symphonic music and jazz, as typified by his 1924 commissioning and debut of George Gershwin's jazz-influenced "Rhapsody In Blue". Later, Whiteman's work on Symphonic Jazz influenced many jazz musicians either way - directly or indirectly - as diverse as Miles Davis, Gil Evans, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Winton Marsalis and other modern artists. Whiteman recorded many jazz and pop standards during his career, including "Wang Wang Blues", "Mississippi Mud", "Rhapsody in Blue", "Wonderful One", "Hot Lips (He's Got Hot Lips When He Plays Jazz)", "Mississippi Suite", and "Grand Canyon Suite". His popularity faded in the swing music era of the 1930s, and by the 1940s Whiteman was semi-retired from music.
Whiteman's place in the history of early jazz is somewhat controversial. Detractors suggest that Whiteman's ornately-orchestrated music was jazz in name only (lacking the genre's improvisational and emotional depth), and