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Famous Like Me > Composer > K > Roger Wolfe Kahn

Profile of Roger Wolfe Kahn on Famous Like Me

Name: Roger Wolfe Kahn  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 19th October 1907
Place of Birth: Morristown, New Jersey, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
1927 Time cover featuring Kahn

Roger Wolfe Kahn (October 19, 1907–July 12, 1962) was a United States jazz and popular musician, composer, and band leader ("Roger Wolfe Kahn and His Orchestra").

Born in Morristown, New Jersey into a very rich family—his father, Otto Hermann Kahn, was a banker—Kahn is said to have learned to play 18 musical instruments before starting to lead his own orchestra in 1923, aged only 16. 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 until 1929, Columbia in 1929 and 1930, and for the Brunswick label 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. 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.

Roger Wolfe Kahn's second marriage was to Edith May Nelson. It lasted from 1933 till Kahn's death of a heart attack in New York City in 1962. Compilations of Roger Wolfe Kahn's music are available on CD.

Kahn's popular titles include:

  • "Hot Hot Hottentot"
  • "Anything You Say"
  • "Crazy Rhythm" (part of the soundtrack of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway)
  • "Imagination"
  • "She's a Great Great Girl" (the closing theme song of WAMU's Hot Jazz Saturday Night hosted by Rob Bamberger)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Roger Wolfe Kahn