Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Abe Lyman

Abraham Simon
August 4, 1897 - October 23, 1957
Popular leader of band billed as Abe Lyman and His Californians. Abe learned to play the drums when he was young, and at the age of 14 he had a job as a drummer in Chicago's Colonial café. In 1919 he moved to California and his ability to juggle drumsticks led to jobs in Hollywood restaurants. He made a name for himself with a successful run at the Cocoanut Grove from 1921-24.
 After the band recorded their first record under the label Nordskog Records, they moved a year later to Brunswick Records in summer of 1923. There they made many recordings and were one of Brunswick leading orchestras straight through 1935, when Lyman signed to Decca. In late 1937, Lyman signed with Victor where he was assigned their Bluebird label. He recorded prolifically for them through 1942. Through appearances at the Ship Café in Venice, Lyman made connections with several of the more glamorous patrons, including film stars Bebe Daniels and Gloria Swanson.These connections in turn paved the way for more prestigious bookings to the Cocoanut Grove Ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel, where Lyman and his band remained in residence until 1926.
The popularity of the group enabled Lyman to recruit a number of quality musicians, including New Orleans 'hot' trumpeter Ray Lopez, Si Zentner, Jimmy Grier, Gus Arnheim, Jack Pleis and Yank Lawson. In the late 1920's, the band went on a successful tour, first nationally, then to Europe, where they appeared at the Kit Kat Club, the London Palladium and the Moulin Rouge. Upon their return, Lyman expanded his profile through appearances in early sound pictures and doing the synchronizing on three classic 'Merrie Melodies' soundtracks for the Warner Brothers animation unit in 1931. Abe went into the military from 1943-43. Lyman quit the music business in the late 40s starting an insurance business with his wife Rose Blane (one of his former vocalists) in Beverly Hills and, subsequently, getting into restaurant management. He died in Beverly Hills, California at the age of 60.

Mary Lou   1926

Mandalay   1924

I Cried For You with Billie Holiday   1936

After I Say I'm Sorry   1926

Did You Mean It?   1927

Sunday   1926

Doin' The Uptown Lowdown   1933 




Charlie Chaplin Guest Conducting Abe Lyman's Orchestra 1925

Rum and Coca-Cola   1945


You're A Real Sweetheart   1928

Film Short
Note Abe's ability to juggle drumsticks

I Wished on the Moon  1935 Max Fleischer Cartoon

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