Lester Raymond Brown, 14 March 1912, Reinerton, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 4 January 2001, Los Angeles, California, USA. By 1932, when he entered Duke University at Durham, North Carolina, Brown had already attended Ithaca College and the New York Military Academy and had studied harmony, arranging and composing, as well as becoming proficient on soprano saxophone, clarinet and bassoon. At Duke in 1935, he joined the universitys dance band, the Duke Blue Devils, became its leader and built a substantial local reputation and recorded some sides for Decca Records. In 1937 he moved to New York where he worked as an arranger for Jimmy Dorsey and Isham Jones. In 1938 he formed his own band for an engagement at the Hotel Edison on Broadway and signed a recording contract with Bluebird Records. By 1940 the band was playing the Arcadia Ballroom and deputizing for Charlie Barnet at the Lincoln Hotel. During this spell, Brown lured Doris Day away from the Bob Crosby band to...
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