Les & Larry Elgart

Les Elgart (trumpet) and his brother Larry Elgart (alto/soprano sax) led one of the more popular swing orchestras of the '50s. Their smooth, tightly arranged sound helped keep the declining big-band style alive on the charts for a little while longer, and their later reunions often produced stylistic detours into contemporary easy listening trends.

Les Elgart was born August 3, 1918, in New Haven, CT, while Larry was born March 20, 1922, in nearby New London. Their parents both played the piano, and the brothers took up music in their early teens; they were already performing professionally by the time each turned 20. During the early '40s, they sometimes wound up in the same groups, and formed their own orchestra in 1945, hiring top-notch arrangers like Nelson Riddle, Ralph Flanagan, and Bill Finegan. However, a number of factors conspired against them: the Musicians' Union...

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