Leo F. Reisman (October 11, 1897 – December 18, 1961)[1] was an American violinist and bandleader in the 1920s and 1930s. Born and reared in Boston, Massachusetts, United States,[1] he was of Jewish ancestry; from German immigrants who immigrated to the United States in the 19th century. Inspired by the Russian-American violinist Jascha Heifetz, Reisman studied violin as a young man. After being rejected by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he formed his own band in 1919.[2] He became famous for having over 80 hits on the popular charts during his career. Jerome Kern called Reisman's orchestra "The String Quartet of Dance Bands".


Leo Reisman and his orchestra, My Sweeter Than Sweet

Reisman's first recording was on a 10-inch 78 rpm record for Columbia Records, recorded on January 10, 1921 – the two titles being "Love Bird", with a catalog issue of Columbia A-3366, mx.79634 and the other title being "Bright Eyes", with a catalog issue of Columbia A-3366, mx.79635.[3]

Reisman recorded for Columbia exclusively from July 1923 through March 11, 1929, when he signed with Victor and stayed until October 1933.[3] He then signed with Brunswick and stayed until 1937 when he re-signed with Victor.[3] During his 1929-1933 Victor period, Reisman recorded many lesser-known period Broadway songs, some of which were recorded by no other band. Due to his popularity, he was always one of the prominent bands during his time at Columbia, Victor and Brunswick, and he recorded prolifically.

Reisman also had the habit of featuring composers and Broadway performers as band vocalists, including Harold Arlen, Fred Astaire, Clifton Webb, and Arthur Schwartz.[1] He also featured Lee Wiley in 1931-32 for her first three recordings. More often than not, his vocalists were Frank Luther, Dick Robertson and later Sally Singer and George Beuler. A notable recording from this era was "Happy Days Are Here Again" in November 1929, with vocals by Lou Levin.[4]

Among his more popular hits were his number one recordings of Cole Porter's "Night and Day" (1932) and Con Conrad's "The Continental" (1934), plus Astaire's recording of Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" (1935).[1]

Reisman's was primarily a dance orchestra; he was not a fan of jazz music, but some of his early 1930s 78 RPM recordings were a bit "hot".[1] (However, Reisman employed the legendary trumpet player Bubber Miley in 1930–31, who had been a featured member of Duke Ellington's orchestra.)[1] Reisman worked with Sam Donahue between 1946 - 1951.[5]

Eddy Duchin was a member of Leo Reisman's orchestra; it was Reisman who gave Duchin his big break.[6] The band leader and TV personality, Mitch Miller, also was a member of Reisman's orchestra.[7]

Reisman's work on radio included having the Nine o'Clock Revue, a 30-minute weekly program on the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1937.[8]

Reisman died in New York City on December 18, 1961, at the age of 64.[1]

Charting singlesEdit

  • "Afterglow" (1936) (US #14)
  • "It's De-Lovely" (1936) (US #7)
  • "On The Beach At Bali-Bali" (1936) (US #6)
  • "Yours Truly is Truly Yours" (1936) (US #14)
  • "In The Still Of The Night" (1937) (US #9)
  • "Spring Is Here" (1938) (US #14)
  • "Down Argentina Way" (1940) (US #7)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 2070. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Leo, Kahn. Variations on a Theme: Memoirs of a Studio Musician. p. 40.
  3. ^ a b c "Leo Reisman 78 RPM - Discography - USA - 78 RPM". 45worlds.com. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  4. ^ "78 Record: Leo Reisman - Lucky Me - Lovable You (1930)". 45worlds.com. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  5. ^ "IMDB". IMDb.
  6. ^ The Eddy Duchin Story. Columbia Pictures, Samuel A. Taylor (screenplay) and Leo Katcher (story), released 21 June 1956 (US)
  7. ^ Hyland, William (2003). George Gershwin: A New Biography. Westport, CT: Praeger. pp. 151. ISBN 978-0275981112.
  8. ^ "Leo Reisman" (PDF). Radio Daily. February 9, 1937. p. 10. Retrieved April 8, 2022.

External linksEdit