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George E. Lee

For an interval in the past due 1920’s, George E. Lee’s Orchestra was a close rival of Bennie Moten’s in Kansas Town. The older sibling of singer-pianist Julia Lee, George E. Lee used an Army music group in 1917, sang having a vocal quartet and in 1920 created a combo. That group (which quickly presented Julia Lee) performed regularly for a long time at Lyric Hall in Kansas Town. In 1927 the music group (an octet which at that time included Jesse Rock on piano) cut two game titles for the Merritt label including Julia Lee’s first documented vocal (“Down House Syncopated Blues”). In 1929 the ensemble (that was up to ten items including Budd Johnson on tenor) documented six quantities for Brunswick: four under George E. Lee’s name and two being a support group for Julia Lee (“He’s High, Dark And Handsome” and “Won’t You Arrive Over To MY HOME”). Since it changed out, that might be the highpoint for the George E. Lee Orchestra. In 1933, Lee’s clothing became area of the Bennie Moten Orchestra. He led a fresh shortlived big music group in 1935, toured using a combo for a couple of years, transferred to Jackson, Michigan in 1940, maintained a Detroit nightclub in 1942 and in the middle-1940’s resolved in NORTH PARK, retiring from music at the same time when ironically Julia Lee began becoming famous.

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