Jean Goldkette


John Jean Goldkette (March 18, 1893 – March 24, 1962) was a jazz pianist and bandleader.

Goldkette was reportedly born on March 18, 1893, in Valenciennes, France, but there is evidence that he was born in Patras, Greece. His mother, Angela Goldkette, was a circus performer from Denmark. His father is unknown.

He spent his childhood in Greece and Russia, where he studied piano at the Moscow Conservatory as a child prodigy. The family emigrated to the United States in 1911. He performed in a classical ensemble in Chicago at the age of 18, later joining one of Edgar Benson’s dance orchestras.

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.