Benny Moten


Benjamin Moten (November 13, 1893 – April 2, 1935)[2] was an American jazz pianist and band leader born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, United States.

He led his Kansas City Orchestra, the most important of the regional, blues-based orchestras active in the Midwest in the 1920s, and helped to develop the riffing style that would come to define many of the 1930s big bands. The jazz standard “Moten Swing” bears his name.

He leased a ballroom in Detroit and formed a band which grew to success, and was the foundation for a business empire acting as an agency for twenty orchestras and owning many dance halls. In 1936, he filed for bankruptcy; however, over the next three decades, he built up business again as a musician, conductor, and promoter. He married Lee McQuillen, a newspaperwoman, on March 4, 1939.