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Harlan Leonard

Among the best Kansas Town bandleaders from the later 1930s and early ’40s, Harlan Leonard was luckily enough to business lead four recording periods in 1940 that led to 24 choices and really showed off the talents of his music group. Leonard began playing professional with George E. Lee’s group in 1923, and some months afterwards, he became business lead altoist with Bennie Moten. He was with Moten for eight years (until 1931) and during 1931-1934, the altoist was using the Kansas Town Sky Rockets that was led by trombonist Thamon Hayes. When Hayes departed in 1934, Leonard became its head. Three years afterwards, the group split up and he shortly formed a fresh big music group, Harlan Leonard’s Rockets. The music group was perhaps most obviously for the agreements of Tadd Dameron (in his prebop times), Eddie Durham, and Buster Smith, as well as the solos of tenorman Henry Bridges and trombonist Fred Beckett (an early on motivation for J.J. Johnson). Although they made an appearance in NY during section of 1940, the Rockets had been located in Kansas Town and mostly performed within the Midwest until 1943 when Leonard relocated to LA and come up with a totally different orchestra. From then on group split up in 1945, Harlan Leonard completely left music to operate for the inner Revenue Service.

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