Masters of the Xylophone
George Hamilton Green and Joe Green with the All-Star Trio, Green Brothers Xylophone Orchestra and the George Green - Frank Banta Duo
Today, more than 80 years later, the artistry of George and Joe Green is captured on this soundtrack from original 20s and 30s recordings of these virtuoso Masters of the Xylophone. No one knows for sure, but it is thought that there are thousands of recordings of the Green brothers. Of the hundreds of records available, the selection of twenty for this collection wasn\'t easy. The private collection of recordings and publishers\' record catalogues of Lew Green, Jr. was a useful starting point.
The headlines read \"Boy plays Xylophone of Own Construction\" when, in 1906, George Hamilton Green (1893-1970) first created a sensation by performing solo xylophone on a homemade instrument with his father\'s band in Omaha, Nebraska. He performed throughout the Midwest as a concert and vaudeville artist, was a dance orchestra wizard, and in 1916 began one of the most prolific recording careers in history.
George was not only a busy performing artist on record and radio, be also composed pop tunes, maintained a busy teaching schedule and, as the saying goes, literally wrote the book on the xylophone which he felt was \"the perfect ragtime instrument.\"
His older brother Joe Green (1892-1939) was as well known and sought after in the recoding business. Joe received national acclaim when he toured with John Philip Sousa\'s band as a featured xylophone soloist from 1915 through 1919. Not only a xylophonist, but also a percussionist and timpanist. Nat Shilkret and the Victor Company used Joe extensively for recording dates. he was also timpanist for the Victor Red Seal Operatic recordings.
The Green brothers played in hundreds of groups in recoding studios and on radio airways. Their most notable group was the Green Brothers Novelty Orchestra (mid-20s to early 30s) in which George and Joe, along with their younger brother Lew (1909-1992), a guitar and banjo player, performed the soundtrack for the first Disney cartoons, Steamboat Willie, The Opry House, and Skeleton Dance.
Joe died in 1939 of complications following an operation. George retired from music shortly thereafter to pursue a lengthy career as a cartoonist from his home in Woodstock, New York, until his own death in 1970.