From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Olden, Clarence E.

(born: 1904  -  died: 1981) Clarence E. Olden, from Paducah, KY, was a trumpet player and band leader. He also played the saxophone. He left Kentucky for New York in the early 1930s;  he opened at the Apollo Theater around Christmas Day 1934.

In 1940 Clarence and his wife Iva (1905-1991) were lodgers at the home of Mildred Harris on Lexington Avenue in Columbus, OH; both were listed as musicians [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Clarence Olden was head of the band known as Clarence Olden and His Dixie Rhythm Boys. Kentucky trumpeter Jonah Jones was once a member of the Clarence Olden Band. The band name was later changed to the Clarence Olden Orchestra.

During World War II, Clarence Olden worked at the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Plant in Columbus. Because of  financial constraints, he merged his band with Earl Hood and His Orchestra. Olden took over the Hood Orchestra in 1951. In 1957, Olden gave up his job at the plant, quit playing music, and bought a grocery store. In 1964 his wife Iva was shot at the store during a robbery [source: "Clerk shot," The Times Recorder (Zanesville), 7/1/1964, p. 1].

Clarence Olden was the son of Onine Olden Danner, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, and the stepson of Artis Danner, who died in 1940 according to Kentucky Death Certificate, State File #5020. [The spelling of the name "Onine" was taken from her signature on the death certificate of Artis Danner.]

For more see Columbus: the musical crossroadsby D. Meyers, et al.; and Clarence Olden, trumpeter, saxophonist, bandleader, April 1, 2012, by A. Howard, a Columbus Bicentennial blog.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about McCracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Paducah, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Jones, Robert E. "Jonah"
NKAA Source: The Times recorder (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Columbus : the musical crossroads

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Olden, Clarence E.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-02-08 16:30:03