The Coon – Sanders Nighthawks

The Coon-Sanders Night-Hawks are largely forgotten today, but they were one of the most popular big bands of 1920s. Carleton Coon, drummer, was born in Rochester, MN on February 5, 1894. Joe Sanders, pianist/arranger, was born in Thayer, KS, October 15, 1894. They met in December 1918 at a Kansas City music shop. They formed the Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra. In 1921, they recorded four songs, but only one was released. Then, more important, on December 5, 1922, their first radio broadcast was made. They soon became popular and the orchestra was renamed The Night-Hawks. This was because their show was late, from midnight to 2 a.m. It was very popular in the Midwest. The Coon-Sanders Night-Hawks recorded a lot of music from 1924 to 1926. They cut around 75 songs over the next eight years. Later, they moved to Chicago in 1924. This allowed them to continue their success on radio and road trips. While none of the sidemen were made famous individually, the band was known for its short solos. Sanders’ arrangements were full with surprises and Sanders’ vocals were always hot, whether they were performing novelties or stomps. The magic was ended by Coon’s sudden passing on May 5, 1932 after a procedure on a septic tooth. Joe Sanders was alive until May 1965. He led a band that lasted through 1959 but never recorded again. The Old Masters label recently launched a CD reissue series that will include all the Coon-Sanders Night-Hawks recordings. These recordings still sound great seven decades later. Allmusic

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