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Frank P. Banta

Frank P. Banta (March 29, 1870 - November 30, 1903) was an American pianist and recording artist active in the 1890s and 1900s.

Banta was born in New York City to John William Banta and Frances Green Banta (Darrow). He learned to play piano while working as a piano tuner, and by 1893 was the house pianist for the New York Phonograph Company (a subsidiary of the North American Phonograph Company). By December of the same year, he was leading "Banta's Parlor Orchestra" for the North American Phonograph Company. He recorded as a piano accompanist and as leader of "Banta's Orchestra" for Walcutt and Leeds by 1896, and may have done the same for Walcutt, Miller & Co., its predecessor, in the intervening years. Banta's Orchestra recorded 15 cylinders for the Columbia Phonograph Company in 1896. The Chicago Talking Machine Company also marketed recordings by Banta's Orchestra, though it's unclear whether they recorded them or duplicated records taken by another company.

The bulk of Frank P. Banta's recording activity was as the house pianist of Edison's National Phonograph Company. His death notice in the company's trade paper Edison Phonograph Monthly, noted "His were the hands that played the piano accompaniments to more than half of the records in the Edison catalogue". He also recorded for Edison one solo of his own composition, "Violets" (Edison Gold Moulded no. 8394). He recorded three sides for Victor in September 1903, one piano solo (Hello! Ma Baby) and two accompaniments for cornetist Herbert L. Clarke.

Banta was an early adopter and proponent of ragtime and his accompaniments are some of the earliest recorded examples of the style. He was also regarded as a reliable powerhouse, who could play the same pieces many times over before mass-duplication of records was reliably available. In addition to his recording work, Banta composed at least 14 pieces between 1895 and 1903, primarily ragtime piano solos or popular songs, and arranged the famous "Laughing Song" popularized by George W. Johnson.

Frank P. Banta was the father of the somewhat more famous pianist Frank E. Banta, who recorded prolifically between 1916 and 1939, especially for Victor. Frank P. Banta died in New York aged 33 after an extended period of poor health.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 29, 1870 (New York City), Died November 30, 1903 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1900 - 1925

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, piano

Notes: Father of pianist Frank E. Banta.

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]402 7-in. 9/27/1900 Hello, my baby Frank P. Banta Piano solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]403 7-in. 9/27/1900 Flocktonian polka Frank P. Banta ; Herbert L. Clarke Cornet solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]406 7-in. 9/27/1900 Killarney Herbert L. Clarke Cornet solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]2180 7-in. 4/23/1903 The robins and the wrens Joseph Belmont ; Frank Kernell [i.e., Samuel H. Dudley] Male vocal solo, with bird imitations composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]2180 10-in. 4/23/1903 The robins and the wrens Joseph Belmont ; Frank Kernell [i.e., Samuel H. Dudley] Male vocal solo, with bird imitations composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3159 10-in. 3/2/1901 Ragged William Metropolitan Orchestra Orchestra composer  
Columbia 1122 7-in. ca. 1903 The robin and the wren Joseph Belmont Whistling, with piano composer  
Columbia 1122 10-in. ca. 1903-1908 The robin and the wren Joseph Belmont Whistling, with piano composer  
Brunswick E16242-E16245 10-in. 8/26/1925 I'll take you home again, Kathleen Morton Downey Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Banta, Frank P.," accessed September 25, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100301.

Banta, Frank P.. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 25, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100301.

"Banta, Frank P.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 25 September 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100301

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