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Frank Banta, the Younger

Frank Banta was the Victor Recording Company’s house pianist in the twenties. He’s on at least seven sides in the Knott’s record collection, but he was never a headliner.

Here, from 1925, Mr. Banta accompanies vaudeville singer/comedienne Aileen Stanley:

Sam Herman was an up-and-coming xylophone player when this recording with Frank Banta made him a star:

Herman went on to a long career at NBC. If you ever wondered who made the xylophone sounds on early TV game shows, it was Sam Herman.

Singers Henry Burr and Bill Murray were successful recording artists in the gramophone era. From late 1925, we have them accompanied by Frank Banta on one of their last Victrola recording sessions:

There were actually two Frank Banta’s during the gramophone era. The recordings in the Knott’s collection are all from the 1920s and by the son. Frank Sr. began recording in the cylinder era and continued until his death in 1903. His obituary said that he appeared on half of the Edison Recording Company’s catalog. notes that the elder Banta also recorded with Bill Murray.

This must be a unique coincidence in the gramophone era for a father and son to have each accompanied the same singer but separated by two decades.

Aileen Stanley (1925)

B: “I Want a Little Lovin”

Sam Herman (1926)

B: “Al Fresco”

Bill Murray & Henry Burr (1925)

A: “I Wonder Where My Baby is Tonight”