Monday, August 1, 2016

Harry Israel

Harry Israel

Born:         22 September 1883,  New York City, NY
Died:         16 September 1963, Los Angeles, CA
Artist For:  Aeolian, Rythmodik

Harry Israel recorded at least one roll for Rythmodik, and is most probably also the 'Israel' credited as an artist on some mid-1910s Aeolian Unversal rolls, usually in four hand performances with other artists.

His father William was an English immigrant who died when Harry was just 12. His earliest professional mention is in the Music Trade Review of 18 February 1905, reporting on a vaudeville act by The Gillette Sisters:
  "A unique feature of the act was Harry Israel's accompaniment in 'ragged rag-time' on a piano"

By 1910 he was managing a music publishing house, the Joe Morris Music Co., and his brother Joseph also worked as a pianist for a music house. In 1912 he composed 'That Aeroplane Glide', which attained some popularity, and which he recorded for Rythmodik on roll #A1752, released in July that year.

He served with the American Expeditionary Force in the America's Over There theatre, entertaining the troops in England. The 1920s saw him occasionally appear on radio, performing the latest numbers from the Snyder publishing house.

Married to Antoinette in 1926, he was the proprietor of a musical instrument store by 1930. He spent some time in Florida later that decade, relocating to Los Angeles by 1940 where he was still working as a musician, now for the motion picture industry.


His WW2 draft lists him as self-employed, resident in North Hollywood. He died in Los Angeles a few days before his 80th birthday, and is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills next to his wife, who died in 1983.

Belle Tannenbaum

Belle Tannenbaum

Born:              12 July 1894, Chicago, IL
Died:               12 December 1965, Chicago, IL
Artist For:     Imperial/Recordo (Chicago)

Isabella Tannenbaum, daughter of a Russian solicitor and a Polish-Austrian mother.

Married Ephry M. Friedman in November 1918.

By 1940 divorced and working as a music teacher, in which she had an excellent reputation.


Buried Waldheim Jewish Cemetery, Chicago.

Carolyn Cone Baldwin

Carolyn Cone Baldwin

Born:           10 June 1894, Michigan
Died:           28 December 1946, San Francico, CA
Artist For:  Aeolian/Duo-Art


Married Lt. Cmdr. James W. Baldwin of the US Navy, and the couple had twin daughters.

She and her husband were both killed in a four car crash on the San Francisco Bay Bridge while returning to their home from a visit to Berkeley ,and are buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Mateo.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

William Axtman (William Arlington)

William Axtman
William Axtman (Connorized)

Born: 21 August 1891, New York City
Died: 24 July 1930, New York City
AKA: William Arlington
Labels: Connorized, Rythmodik


William Otto Axtman was born August 21, 1891 in NYC and was one of Connorized’s staff artists.  His father Otto was of German ancestry and worked as a letter carrier. His mother, Kate Worrs-De'Luc.

His WWI draft card lists his profession as ‘Musician – pianist for P. J. Harvey, 181 St & Boston Road’. Physical description is ‘tall, medium build’ with grey eyes and brown hair.

Axtman’s style frequently uses rapid octave runs in the bass. The rolls credited as ‘played by Scott Joplin’ on the Connorized label exhibit these same traits, suggesting this embellishment was a Connorized 'house sound' rather than characteristic of the famous ragtime composer.

He also recorded a single roll for Rythmodik in 1917, and on the 8th of August that year married his first wife, Eleanor Wendelstorf.

In 1918 he lost his father Otto and younger brother Walter within months of each other, He departed Connorized in about 1920, and the Census of that year finds him listed with his wife Eleanor in Manhattan, working as a Victrola demonstrator. By 1924, as ‘Billy Axtman’, became part of a radio and vaudeville act with singer Fred Hughes - it was noted that Axtman himself had a singing voice of the 'highest quality'. He seems to have remarried around this time, as by the time of the New York state census in 1925 he is now living with Georgia Axtman, some years his junior, who is working as a singer. At some point he became connected with Irving Berlin, Inc. and then in June 1929 left to become assistant to the manager of Robbins Music Corp, about the same time his mother died.

The 1930 census shows him having married Georgia in 1924 and working as a pianist for a music publishing company. What carried him off at the sadly premature age of 38 has yet to be determined. He was laid to rest in the Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City.