The Herman Kenin LIBRARY


The Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra is so grateful to the generosity of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 99, Portland, Oregon for the contribution of the Herman Kenin Library, with special thanks to AFM Local 99's board, local President (and organization Vice President) Bruce Fife, and local Secretary and Treasure Mont Chris Hubbard. For additional information about AFM, please visit AFM Local 99 here.

The Herman Kenin Library represents Herman Kenin's contribution to live music in Portland, Oregon, with the earliest scores dating from 1880 and the most recent published in 1955. These several thousand scores amassed during Kenin's lifetime remained virtually untouched since Kenin's death in 1970;  The Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra is honored to act as steward of the collection, cataloging, preserving, and performing these tunes that otherwise would have been lost to history.

If you are interested in volunteering with this cataloguing and preservation project, please email Sammuel at

Born in Vineland New Jersey, 1901, Herman Kenin and his family would cross the nation to settle in Portland, Oregon in 1911. The young Herman would find a position with George Olson's Orchestra, performing as the house band for the Portland Hotel. With Olson's popularity on the rise, George and several members of the band headed south to Los Angeles in 1925, leaving the hotel orchestra under the leadership of the 24 year old Herman. Soon, the bright young bandleader would find himself leader of the Multnomah Hotel Orchestra, which would lead to the musician's nationwide success. In 1926, Victor records would travel to Portland for the first time to record the hotel band. The success of these recordings would result in Kenin's relocation to Los Angeles to head the Ambassador Hotel Orchestra.

Kenin would eventually return to the Pacific Northwest, and in 1936 would be elected President of AFM Local 99. With a degree from the Northwestern College of Law to his credit, Herman began serving on AFM's International Executive Board in 1943, and in 1958 would be unanimously elected President of the organization.

Under Kenin's leadership, AFM would help to establish the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanitites.

Herman Kenin lead the American Federation of Musicians until his death on July 21st, 1970. He would bequeath his collection of arrangements to AFM Local 99. The Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra is honored to carry on his legacy.

Source: The New York Times

*Photos courtesy of Christopher Tyle and AFM Local 99