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Best of Big Bands: Lester Lanin

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Album Review

The Best of the Big Bands contains Lester Lanin's versions of such traditional pop and swing favorites as "Glow Worm," "Little Brown Jug," "Desafinado," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "If Ever I Would Leave You," "Just One of Those Things" and "This Could Be the Start of Something Big." It's not a definitive collection, but it's an excellent sampler, offering a good idea of Lanin's talents as a bandleader.


Born: 26 August 1911 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Lester Lanin was the best known of a family of musical siblings who, between them, managed to keep a major presence in music for close to 80 years. He was, like his brothers Sam and Howard, a bandleader; and while technically his category of music was "jazz," his actual connection to jazz was peripheral at best, and more ephemeral than, say, that of Glenn Miller. He used jazz musicians and some of the elements of jazz in his music, but not by the biggest stretch of the imagination did Lanin or his...
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