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Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra, Scrappy Lambert vocal - 'tWas Not So Long Ago (1929)

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Published on Aug 24, 2011

Roger Wolfe Kahn (Oct.19,1907 -- July 12,1962) was an American jazz and popular musician, composer and bandleader.

Roger Wolff Kahn was born in Morristown, New Jersey into a wealthy German Jewish banking family. His father was Otto Hermann Kahn, a famous banker and patron of the arts. Otto and Roger Kahn were the first father and son to appear separately on the cover of Time magazine: Otto in November 1925 and Roger in September 1927, aged 19.

Kahn is said to have learned to play 18 musical instruments before starting to lead his own orchestra in 1923, aged only 16. In 1925, Kahn appeared in a short film made in Lee De Forest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process. Kahn hired famous jazz musicians of the day to play in his band, especially during recording sessions, for example Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Artie Shaw, Jack Teagarden, Red Nichols, and Gene Krupa.

Recordings were made for Victor 1925-1929, Brunswick 1929-1930 and Columbia in 1932.

Kahn always had fun leading and conducting his orchestra. Reportedly, when the band was playing especially well he used to throw himself onto the floor and wave his legs in the air. However, in the mid-1930s, he lost interest in his orchestra and disbanded it. Instead, he preoccupied himself with aviation and eventually, in 1941, became a test pilot for the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, a well-known aircraft manufacturer.

In 1931, Kahn made headlines on the New York society pages when he married musical comedy actress Hannah Williams January 16, 1931. The wedding was at Oheka Castle, his family's estate on Long Island, and was kept secret from the public for two weeks, until the Broadway show Williams was appearing in, Sweet and Low, had had its final performances. The couple made headlines again when they divorced two years later and when, after only a few weeks, Williams married boxing champion Jack Dempsey. Two days after the divorce, on April 7, 1933, Roger Wolfe Kahn married Edith May Nelson, a Maine politician's daughter. That marriage lasted from 1933 till Kahn's death of a heart attack in New York City on July 12, 1962.


Roger Wolfe Kahn and his Orchestra, Scrappy Lambert vocal - 'tWas Not So Long Ago (1929 from Sweet Adeline)

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