Real name: Lester Raymond Brown.
Born: Mar 14, 1912 in Reinerton, PA.
Died: Jan 4, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA.
Styles: Sweet Bands, Traditional Pop, Swing.
Instruments: Bandleader, Sax (Alto), Leader, Clarinet
The leader of a first-class jazz-oriented dance band for over 60 years, Les Brown's music was never innovative but was generally quite pleasing. While attending Duke University in 1935 he put together his first big band, the Duke Blue Devils. After the group broke up in 1936, Brown worked as an arranger before forming a permanent orchestra in 1938. Influenced by the swing of Benny Goodman but gradually forging its own sound, the Les Brown Orchestra had major hits in "Sentimental Journey" (featuring Doris Day in 1944) and a catchy arrangement of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." Several excellent soloists spent time with the band (including Abe Most and Ted Nash). In 1947 Brown started working with Bob Hope and the association, although putting the band in a subsidiary role, made it possible for the orchestra to stay together for so many decades. The Dave Pell Octet, which was quite popular in the mid-'50s, was comprised of some of Brown's sidemen. In the late '50s, Brown became one of the founding members of the Recording Academy. Les Brown occasionally toured throughout the decades to come, even performing within a year of his death on January 4, 2001 at the age of 88.
- Scott Yanow & Bruce Eder (All Music Guide)