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Leo Reisman

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Leo Reisman (1897 - December 18, 1961) was an influential violinist and bandleader in the 1920s and 1930s. Born and reared in Boston, Reisman studied violin as a young man, and formed his own band in 1919. He became famous for having over 80 hits on the popular charts during his career. Jerome Kern called Reisman’s orchestra “The String Quartet of Dance Bands.”

Reisman recorded for Columbia exclusively from July 1923 through March 11, 1929, when he signed with Victor and stayed until October 1933. He then signed with Brunswick and stayed until 1937 when he re-signed with Victor. During his 1929-1933 Victor period, Reisman recorded many lesser-known period Broadway songs, some of which were recorded by no other band. He also had the habit of featuring composers and Broadway performers as band vocalists, including Harold Arlen, Fred Astaire, Clifton Webb, and Arthur Schwartz. He also featured Lee Wiley in 1931-32 for her first 3 recordings. More often than not, his vocalists were Frank Luther, Dick Robertson and later Sally Singer and George Beuler. A notable recording from this era was “Happy Days Are Here Again” in November 1929, with vocals by Lou Levin.

Among his more popular hits were his #1 recordings of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” (1932) and Con Conrad’s “The Continental” (1934)

Reisman’s was primarily a dance orchestra; he was not a fan of jazz music, but some of his early 1930s 78 RPM recordings were a bit “hot”.

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