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Title Harry Raderman Biography - Make The Trombone Laugh
Harry Raderman
(* 28 Sep 1882 Odessa, Russia (today Ukraine); † 09 Nov 1940, New York, USA)
Trombone, Bandleader

Another „pioneer“ of the transformation from ragtime to modern dance music and jazz. The trombonist Harry Raderman is perhaps best known for his “Laughing Trombone” and his recordings with the (early) “Earl Fullers Jazz Band” and with Ted Lewis.

Yellow Dog Blues - Medley Fox Trot
Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra

Victor 18618
Recorded October 1, 1919

According to his death files, Harry Raderman had been born to Elias Raderman (*1865) and Esther Pepper (Pfeffer?) in Odessa in the former tzarinan, russian empire. An article, from 1921 in “Jacobs´ Band Monthly” , reported that he began in childhood to learn music and the trombone. This happens, most probably, with klezmer bands.

In early 1893 his parents emigrated, with their child’s, to the USA - New York. The family lived in the Bronx, NY – surrounded by many others emigrants from Russia. Harry Raderman continued to study music. In 1905, according to the census, he lived with his uncle. Profession: Musician… He studied hard and played around New York with most of the leading bands and orchestras, and also in the different theatres.


Harry Raderman

Some years later… The “Original Dixieland Jazz Band” hit NY in early 1917 with their JAZZ. A very young Ted Lewis played in march 1917, in vaudeville, with “Arthur Stone's Syncopated Orchestra” backing the dancer Joan Sawyer.

In the meantime Harry Raderman played the trombone in the orchestra of the “Bushwick Theatre”, a vaudeville place in the Bronx. At that time Andrew Byrnes was conducting the music at this theatre, and his orchestra had won first place in the hearts of the patrons — mainly through the rendition of special overtures, solos and novel features between the acts and during the intermission. Harry Raderman's brain was thereby stirred into activity; he noted the numbers which delighted the people, and his thoughts were continually focused upon a plan to invent some new device to tickle the ears of the novelty-loving public. Probably Raderman developed around this time his Gimmick of the „Laughing Trombone“, which became soon his trademark.

Bandleader (and promoter) Earl Fuller looked for a “Jazz Band” for “Rectors”, one of the most popular and largest restaurants in New York City, at Broadway and 48th Street. Fuler engaged the wellknown Ted Lewis for a drawing card at an extraordinary salary, and featured him as a wizard at providing music suited to the popular taste for dancing and the new "Jass".

Ted Lewis instituted a search for a clever trombone player, and here Raderman saw his opportunity. The engagement was tendered him and he accepted it. Harry was noted for his goodly supply of optimism and it was right with him at this time, for in a number called "Smiles" Harry not only smiled, but this melody proved the incentive to the creation of the trombone laugh which proved to be the making of Harry Raderman. Crowds were attracted to Rector's through hearing the enthusiastic compliments of the many patrons regarding the excellent dance music, and Ted Lewis soon became the talk of the town — Raderman being included, and with especial credit given him among musicians who could appreciate his originality.

As the record company Victor “lost” the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (temporary) to an rival in business, they looked for another “Jass Band” to record. On June 4, 1917, “Earl Fullers Famous Jazz Band”, with Ted Lewis & Harry Raderman, made their first sides for the Victor company.


Earl Fullers Jazz Band with Harry Raderman trombone.

According to his draft card, Raderman worked in September 1918 still at "Rector´s".

Raderman stayed with Ted Lewis, at least on recordings, up to early 1931. But, beginning in 1919 (Joseph C. Smith – see above) he also did a lot of freelancing and made numerous recordings as bandleader. Up to the mid 1920s he recorded extensive for various companies in New York. Almost countless all the names and labels:

“Harry Raderman´s Jazz Orchestra” (Edison – disc & cylinder, Okeh, Broadway, Gennett, Bell, Hydrola), “Harry Raderman's Orchestra”, “Raderman´s Dance Orchestra” (Puritan), “Raderman's Radio Orchestra” & “OKeh Syncopators” (Okeh), Raderman's Novelty Orchestra, Raderman's Roysters, Plantation Dance Orchestra & Harry Raderman's Plantation Jazz Orchestra (Emerson) and so on…

Studio group with Harry Raderman, trombone


By 1924 he was, together with his brother Lou Raderman (violine), part of the Jack Shilkret (recording) orchestra.

Charley, my boy
Jack Shilkret Orchestra

Victor 19420 / B-30625/6
August 14, 1924
Trombone solo - Harry Raderman

With the recordings of Raderman (or Ted Lewis), you often hear a “Klezmer Feeling”. No wonder, as their musical background originated from the east-european tradition. Besides the dance music, Raderman participated in the 1920s also on records of the traditional music of the Russian emigrants. Circa in April 1924 he recorded, for Emerson, together with Sam Beckerman as “Raderman's and Beckerman's Orchestra” the title:

“A Europaische Kolomyka”

In the second half of the 1920s Raderman had been booked decreasingly into the recording studios. His style of playing the trombone from old vaudeville days became more and more outdated, particularly by contrast to the much smoother style of the younger fellows like Miff Mole, Tommy Dorsey and so on. But he recorded still with Ted Lewis and anymore with his own band. With the studio work he still had a good income - necessary to support his wife Rosie Raderman and four or five children.

May 16, 1927

UK Bandleader Bert Ambrose booked in 1927 some American musicians for his new band in London. Besides the trumpet player Henry Levine one Harry Raderman left the USA for England. In June 1927 this Harry Raderman even recorded in London with the Ambrose orchestra – but, not on trombone, but with the drums… They went back to New York in October 1927.

With the census 1930 Raderman lived with his wife Rose (Rosie), two sons and a dauhter in the Kelly Street No. 754, Bronx. In early 1931 he made the last recordings together with the Ted Lewis orchestra. Maybe there are some more recordings as an sideman with unkown orchestras.

Harry Raderman


In late 1933 Raderman, now living at 847 Mandina Street, was involved in a car crash in which a girl died.

Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle
December 18, 1933

Free open air dances ...Orchestra, comprised of 16 men under the direction of Harry Raderman, will play. Raderman is musical director at the municipal broadcast ...
Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle, June 4, 1934

June 13, 1934

Harry Raderman's Gotham Dance Orchestra will supply music for public dancing in prospect Park this evening.
New York Sun, August 13, 1934

The Gotham Dance Orchestra at the Jackson Heights Playground, 84th street and 30th avenue, with Harry Raderman conducting. 8 15 p. m.
Jamaica NY Long Island Daily Press, September 9, 1935

By 1936 Phil Belfer directed the Gotham Dance Orchestra. One of the last times Raderman had been mentioned in newspapers, was in 1938.

Most source mentioned as year of death 1939. But, 1939 Raderman was still alive… With the census 1940 (April 14) he lived at 847 Mandina Street together with his wife Rosie, Max Raderman – Son, Molly Raderman - Daughter-in-law and the two grandchildren Eleanore & Nina Raderman.

Sadly not very long. Harry Raderman died on November 9, 1940 - aged 58. He had been buried on November 11 at Mt Zion Cem, His wife Rose Radermann died in 1966.

Sources: "Jacobs´ Band Monthly" 1921 Link - Hier klicken
Views 7831 (2791 unique views)
Posted by Grammophonteam
Re: Harry Raderman bluesserenader 06 Sep : 11:38 Reply to this
Comments: 1

Registered: 13 May : 11:27
Well-researched article.
The only gripe I have is that the sources are not consistently identified in full. For instance, I'd like to know from what publication (and page number) the 1919-10-31 clipping was taken.
BTW, there's quite some more data on Raderman in the 1919 - 1923 issues of the "Morning Telegraph", a daily theatrical publication - which the author has not consulted.
Still, the best writing on Raderman to date...

Ralph Wondraschek

Location: Heidelberg

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