Eugene (Gene) Kardos (June 12, 1899 - July 27, 1980) was leader of a jazz and dance orchestra in the 1930s. He first recorded for Victor in 1931-32 and thereafter recorded for ARC's labels (Perfect, Melotone, Banner, Oriole, Romeo, Vocalion etc.) through 1938.
Born in Yorkville, New York City, of Hungarian heritage, Gene learned to play the violin and saxophone and worked in vaudeville pit orchestras until organizing his first band around 1930. A New York territory band, its usual home base was the Gloria Palast, a German-American ballroom and café on East 86th Street in the Yorkville neighborhood. Due to the location of AFM Local 802 headquarters nearby, many music professionals caught Kardos' band and admired its virtuosity with hot playing.
Among Gene's musicians were Hymie Schertzer (sax), Vic Schoen (trumpet, arranger), Joel Shaw (piano), and Bernie Green (arranger-composer). There were a sizable group of Kardos recordings issued on Crown under Shaw's name and various ARC recordings under names such as Gene's Merrymakers, Art Kahn, and Bob Causer. Many of his early 1930s records are prized by 'hot' dance band collectors. From the mid-1930s, Kardos' style changed more to a hotel dance band style. Dick Robertson was the vocalist on many of his recordings.
Disbanding in 1939, Kardos married and took employment with the postal service in New York City by day, while leading a small café-style band evenings at Zimmerman's Hungaria, a popular restaurant in Yorkville. His run there continued into the 1950s.
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