Jan Garber, 82, a prominent orchestra leader in the big band era, died Wednesday in Shreveport, La., where he had lived since 1952.
Billed as "The Idol of the Air Lanes," he had both swinging and syrupy sweet bands during his hayday.
Although his big band disappeared with most of the others in the early 1950s, Mr. Garber, who had wealthy real estate holdings in Louisiana, continued to organize pick-up bands until about six years ago. They played mainly on the West Coast and in Las Vegas.
In the early 1920s, Mr. Garber led a swing band that recorded some exciting sides for Columbia and RCA.
In the late 1920s, when the Guy Lombardo style of smooth, danceable music became more popular, Mr. Garber took over another Canadian orchestra that had already adopted the Lombardo sound.
Mr. Garber, who matched flamboyance with good business sense, had great success with his new group. It played all over the country, and performed on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show.
In the early 1940s, he reverted to his swing style. But that band failed commercially, and after the World War II years, he again reverted to the bland, sweet Lombardo style.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Comegys Garber, of the home; a daughter, Janis, who is a singer in Las Vegas and two brothers, Myron of Memphis, and David S., of Los Angeles.