Garber was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He had his own band by the time he was 21 (around 1917). He became known as "The Idol of the Airwaves" in his heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, playing jazz in the vein of contemporaries such as Paul Whiteman and Guy Lombardo. Garber played violin with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra after World War I and formed the Garber-Davis Orchestra with pianist Milton Davis from 1921–1924. After parting with Davis, he formed his own orchestra, playing both "sweet" and "hot" 1920s dance music. He was hit hard by the Great Depression, and in the 1930s, he refashioned his ensemble into a big band and recorded a string of successful records for Victor. During World War II, Garber began playing swing jazz, a rather unexpected turn; his arranger during this time was Gray Rains and his vocalist was Liz Tilton. The recording restrictions in America during the war eventually made his ensemble unfeasible, and he returned to "sweet" music after the war, continuing to lead ensembles nearly up until the time of his death in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1977.
Called the "Idol of the Airways," Garber was active on radio in the 1920s and 1930s. The table below shows some of his broadcasting activities.
|Year||Group's Name||Station or Network|
|1922||Garber's Swiss Garden Orchestra||WLW|
|1926||Jan Garber and His Musical Clowns||WLW|
|1929||Jan Garber and His Musical Clowns||WABC (CBS)|
|1933||Jan Garber Orchestra||NBC|
|1934||Jan Garber Orchestra||KLRA|
|1935-36||Jan Garber Orchestra||WOR|
|1939||Jan Garber Orchestra||Mutual|
Garber recorded over 750 records, five full-length films, several movie shorts, and various TV appearances.
- Favorite American Waltzes - 10" LP Coral Records (CRL 56001) (mono) - (1950)
- Street of Dreams – Decca (DL 4191 and 74191 (stereo)) – (19xx)
- College Songs Everybody Knows – Decca (DL 4319) – (19xx)
- Dance to the Songs Everybody Knows – Decca (DL 4119 and 74119 (stereo)) – (19xx)
- Catalina Nights – Decca (DL 4032 and 74032 (stereo)) – (19xx)
- You Stepped Out of a Dream – Decca (DL 4143 and 74143 (stereo)) – (19xx)
- Everybody Dance with Jan Garber and His Orchestra – Decca (DL 4066 and 74066 (stereo)) – (19xx)
- Dance Program – Decca (DL 4196 and 74196 (stereo)) – (19xx)
- Moods - Coral (CB 20028 - previously released on Decca) - (1973)
- "Dancing Under The Stars" - (Decca Records) DL 4443 (19xx)
- "Dance At Home" - (Decca Records) DL 8482 (1957 Mono)
- "Designed For Dancing" - (Decca Records) DL 8484
- "Dinah" - (Capitol Records) 804 5285-Z (1947) 
- "Confidentially" - (Capitol Records) 804 5284-Y (1947)
Former band members
- Bob Davis[disambiguation needed] (singer)
- Verne Byers (bass)
- Julio Maro (singer)
- Steve Brooks[disambiguation needed] (singer)
- Janis M. Garber (daughter/singer; aka Kitty Thomas)
- Freddie Large (saxophone, from 1932)
- Frank Macauley (bass, from 1934)
- Loren Holding (saxophone)
- Jack Gifford (singer)
- Thelma Gracen (singer)
- Julie Vernon (singer)
- Bob Hames (guitar)
- Don Cherry (singer)
- Frank Bettencourt (trombone, conductor & arranger)
- Douglas Roe (piano)
Garber moved with his family from Indianapolis to Louisville, Kentucky when he was three months old, and lived there until he was 13. The family then moved to a small town near Philadelphia. He was the tenth of 12 children.
Garber studied Violin at Combs Conservatory in Philadelphia.
- Wife – Dorothy Comegys (born November 4, 1907, Shreveport, LA; married Garber December 18, 1926; died January 27, 2001, Shreveport, LA)
- Daughter – Janis Garber (singer, in Las Vegas)
- Brother – Myron Garber
- Brother – David S. Garber
- Brother - Max Garber
- Form I (Draft Card A), Registration No. 1428, WWI Draft Registration Card 3, was a violinist, employed by New Willard Hotel, resided at 1825 F St., NW, Washington, DC
- Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 248.
- "(Capitol Transcriptions ad)". Broadcasting. November 1, 1948. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- Capital Record Catalog No: 804, Matrix 5285-Z
- Capital Record Catalog No: 804, Matrix 5284-Y
- Jan Garber Orchestra Held Over at Mapes, Reno Evening Gazette, August 28, 1964 Reno, Nevada