[Dixielandjazz] Lester Lanin

dingle dingle at baldwin-net.com
Thu Nov 4 04:53:29 PST 2004

Harold Smith wrote:

>Didn't see any mention of Lester Lanin's passing several days ago.  My
>A Jazzman he wasn't, but he put a lot of good musicians to work on a
>steady basis, and the stuff they played was generallly tastefully
>arranged, the harmonies correct and interesting, and the repetoire was
>packed with good standards.
>If Lanin's approach was not exactly your cup of tea, then it should be
>at least acknowledged as one more example of what could be described as
>the continuation of civilized danceable music, which nowadays has fallen
>into oblivion.
>Years ago, I made fun of his musc, too.
>Today, when I flick on the radio, I sorely bemoan the absence of same. 
>Regards,  Harold Smtth
>Dixielandjazz mailing list
>Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
Lester Lanin was just one of the membersof his family to lead 
commercially successful society bands.
Phil Harris once related some tales of when he and Red Nichols both 
worked in San Francisco with the Sam Lanin Orchestra and were room 
mates. Red had gone there to be near his sister, a cellist with the SF 
symphony, and
he and Harris were given to many pranks -- some not suited to being 
aired here in an open forum. The lads culd be a bit naughty at times!
Red had already made his mark in NY for his ability to not only play 
jazz but read and  perform at every level of musicianship required of a 
pro in that market; but he was close to his sister and took  a break to 
join the Lanin band in SF for a time.
Like many others, Mickey bands were not my choice of listening time when 
I was younger, but age does bring a better perspective of things.
The so-called Mickey bands kept of a lot of musicians, including 
jazzers, working and feeding families. The Guy Lombardo band was 
sometimes sneered at -- but not by the likes of Louis Armstrong who 
loved that band. I have rediscovered some neat moments of that band -- 
especially the rare little jazz solos by mellophonist Dudley Fosdick, 
whose short hot insertions into an otherwise plebian band performance 
was worth the wading through.
Thanks to the Lanin brothers and family successors, a lot of musicians 
made a good living, and got the freedom to take
some jazz gigs on off times from live to recorded sessions. A well-fed 
musician with his bills paid is usually phyically at the top of his game.
 From the North Country waiting for the first snowflakes to fall,
ngleDon Ig

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