Reisman, Leo, 1897-1961

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1897-10-11
Death 1961-12-18
Americans

Biographical notes:

Leo Reisman was a bandleader from 1916 into the 1950's, most prominently in the 1930's.

During the 1930's, Reisman led bands that played on radio shows such as Lucky Strike's your hit parade (1937-1939), Philip Morris presents (1934-1937), Schaefer Beer's nine o'clock revue (1937), and the Schaefer revue (late 1937). Reisman continued to lead bands through the 1940's and into the 1950's, playing in hotel ballrooms in New York and Cincinnati. Reisman died in 1961.

From the description of Leo Reisman collection of sound recordings [sound recording], 1932-1948. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 123527576

Leo Reisman was a famous conducter, primarily of a dance orchestra, that gained fame during the 1920s and 1930s. He was also a violinist and radio star.

Reisman was born in Boston on October 11, 1897. For his tenth birthday he was given a violin. He later studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1914, he briefly played with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as first violinist.

Reisman started his own dance band in 1919 and began playing at Boston's Brunswick Hotel in the famed Egyptian Room. Ten years later he and his band moved to New York City and began a long engagement at the Central Park Casino. Reisman and his band moved to the Sert Room at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in 1937, the same year that they traveled to Europe, playing at the Paris International Exposition and the Sport D'ete in Monte Carlo. In 1941, he and his band played at the Guatemala Fair and for the Inaugural Ball of the newly elected President Jorge Ubico.

Reisman's recording career began at Colombia Records in 1921. He signed with Victor Records in 1929, then Brunswick Records in 1933. But by 1937 he was back again on the Victor label. Then, in 1942, he signed with Decca Records and remained with them until his death. A couple of his more famous recordings include: "Night and Day" by Cole Porter and "Cheek to Cheek" sung by Fred Astaire and written by Irving Berlin.

On radio, he and his orchestra starred on the Pond's Cold Cream hour, the Schaefer Beer program, The Phillip Morris show, and the Lucky Strike Hit Parade, among many others.

The famous band leader was also instrumental in finding and promoting talented singers, composers and musicians. Lee Wiley, the well-known jazz singer, began her singing career with the Reisman orchestra during the 1930s. Bubber Miley, a former trumpet player with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, played with Reisman from 1930 to 1931. Eddy Duchin, played piano with Reisman's orchestra, and later conducted the orchestra for him, while Reisman was busy with other projects. Duchin went on to head is own orchestra. Reisman also worked with Harold Arlen, Fred Astaire, Dinah Shore (in her first public singing appearance), Noel Coward, Victor Borge and Eve Symington.

Reisman was married to the former Lillian Casler. The couple had two children, Jane (Jampolis) and Karl.

Leo Reisman died on December 18, 1961, at his home in Mid-town Manhattan after a long illness.

Sources: Charosh, Paul, "Leo Reisman Story", Record Research, April 1964, 3 "Leo Reisman Dies; Led Dance Band", New York Times, December 19, 1961, 33 Reisman, Karl, Leo Reisman Blog, retrieved June 3, 2011

From the guide to the Leo Reisman papers, 1920-1961, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Leo Reisman was a bandleader from 1916 into the 1950's, most prominently in the 1930's. During the 1930's Reisman led bands that played on radio shows such as Lucky Strike's Your Hit Parade (1937-1939), Philip Morris radio programs (1934-1937), and Schaefer Beer's Nine O'clock Revue (1937).

Reisman continued to lead bands through the 1940's and into the 1950's, playing in hotel ballrooms in New York and Cincinnati. Reisman died in 1961.

From the guide to the Leo Reisman collection of sound recordings [sound recording], 1932-1948, (The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.)

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Subjects:

  • Big bands
  • Dance orchestras
  • Radio programs, Musical--United States
  • Conducting
  • Big band music

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