|Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra|
Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra was the first Kansas City jazz band to achieve national recognition, which it acquired through national radio broadcasts. It was founded in 1919, as the Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra, by drummer Carleton Coon and pianist Joe Sanders.
The orchestra began broadcasting in 1922 on clear channel station WDAF, which could be received throughout the United States. They were broadcast in performance at the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City. They took the name Nighthawks because they broadcast late at night (11:30pm to 1:00am). By 1924 their fan club had 37,000 members. Fans were encouraged to send in requests for songs by letter, telephone or telegram. That move became so popular that Western Union set up a ticker tape between Sanders' piano and Coon's drums so the telegrams could be acknowledged during the broadcasts. Their song "Nighthawk Blues" includes the lines: "Tune right in on the radio/Grab a telegram and say 'Hello'." In 1925, they recorded the Paul Whiteman and Fred Rose composition "Flamin' Mamie".
At their peak, each member of the Orchestra owned identical Cord Automobiles, each in a different color with the name of the Orchestra and the owner embossed on the rear. The Orchestra's popularity showed no signs of abating and their contract with MCA had another 15 years to run in the spring of 1932 when Carleton Coon came down with a jaw infection and died, on May 4.
Joe Sanders attempted to keep the organization going; however, without Coon, the public did not support them. In 1935, he formed his own group and played until the early 1940s when he became a part time orchestra leader and studio musician. In his later years he suffered from failing eyesight and other health problems. He died in 1965 after suffering a stroke.
The Kansas City Public Library acquired the scrapbooks and other memorabilia collected and prepared by Joe Sanders and the information is available to researchers.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Monday, October 15, 1934
Went to school. Mother stayed in bed sick today.