Kane, Jack, 1924-1961

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Kane, Jack, 1924-1961

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John Kane (musician, composer, arranger, and conductor) was born in London, England on 29 November 1924, the son of Barry Kane, a British music-hall entertainer. The family emigrated to Toronto in 1933, and Kane was soon singing with his father in local vaudeville. He studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music between 1939 and 1942, learning clarinet from Herbert Pye. He later graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto in 1950. Kane served with the Royal Canadian Signals Corps Band from 1942 to 1945, and led the Khaki Kollegians in the "Army show" during 1945 and 1946. He played with orchestras of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) after leaving the army in 1946. While studying composition with John Weinzweig, Kane started composing several concert works for woodwinds, strings, and saxophone, as well as a symphony that was never finished. He was appointed assistant arranger-conductor to Howard Cable in 1949, and became the chief arranger for CBC Radio's "Startime" the following year. His work led to the Maurice Rosenfeld Prize for most promising newcomer to Canadian radio in 1951. Kane soon moved over to television. He was the music director for CBC shows "On stage" (1954), "The Jackie Rae show" (1955), and "Summertime '57", and was featured on "Music makers '58," "Music makers '59," and "Music '60 presents the Jack Kane hour." His success as an arranger attracted the attention of American singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, and when NBC offered them a television show as a summer replacement for Steve Allen in 1958, they insisted that Kane join them as music director. He also served in this role for Andy William's variety show with CBS in 1959 and for a NBC special featuring Ethel Merman 1959, commuting to New York from his home in Toronto. Kane recorded several albums during this period, including "Kane is able" (1958; nominated for a Grammy award for best orchestra performance), "Jack Kane salutes the women of show business" (1960), and "Raisin' Kane" (1961), and performed in recordings by Steve Allen and Dorothy Collins during the late 1950s. Highly respected for the excellence of his arrangements, the vigour of his conducting, and his exhausting work schedule, Jack Kane died in Toronto on 27 March 1961 after a short battle with cancer. His career was celebrated through a recording of his big band arrangements by Bert Niosi leading the Jake Kane Band for the Canadian Talent Library Trust in 1963.


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