Paul Whiteman, called the "King of Jazz" during the big-band era, was famous for combining the often competing styles of jazz and classical music and made "Rhapsody in Blue" an American classic.
"I never believed that jazz was as bad as the symphonists thought it was, nor that symphony was as bad as the jazz lovers thought it was," Whiteman once said.
In 1919, after forming his first orchestra, Denver-born Whiteman introduced his "symphonic jazz" to the East Coast at Atlantic City, N.J., and the next year took it to Broadway. He first performed "Rhapsody in Blue" in 1924 in the first jazz concert ever given.
During his career, he played before capacity audiences in New York's Aeolian Hall and Carnegie Hall, and played in several movies, including "King of Jazz" in 1930 and "Rhapsody in Blue" in 1945.