Jean Goldkette

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Jean Goldkette

Jean Goldkette (18 May, 1893 24 March, 1962) was a jazz pianist and bandleader. Born in Patras, Greece and raised in Russia, he emigrated to the United States in 1910.

He led many jazz and dance bands, of which the best known was his Victor Recording Orchestra of 1924 1929, which included, at various times, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Eddie Lang, Frankie Trumbauer, Pee Wee Russell, Steve Brown, Doc Rykerand Joe Venuti, among others. Vocalists included the Keller Sisters and Lynch. In his Jazz Masters of the Thirties, Rex Stewart, a member of Fletcher Henderson's band at the time, writes that the Goldkette band's innovative arrangements and strong rhythm made it the best dance band of its day and "the first original white swing band in jazz history."

In 1927 Paul Whiteman hired away most of Goldkette's better players. Goldkette later helped organize McKinney's Cotton Pickers and the Gray's Orange Blossoms, which became famous as the Casa Loma Orchestra. In the 1930s he left jazz to work as a booking agent and classical pianist.

In 1939 he organized the American Symphony Orchestra which debuted in Carnegie Hall. Frankie Laine worked as Goldkette's librarian.

He moved to California in 1961 and the following year died in Santa Barbara, California.

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