Florence, Bob

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Florence, Bob

Florence, Bob, American musician, arranger; b. Los Angeles, Calif., May 20, 1932. He has sporadically maintained an orchestra to play his charts since 1958, though his Limited Edition band has worked steadily since the late 1970s. Strongly influenced by Bill Holman, he studied arranging at Los Angeles City Coll. and played weekend gigs with saxophonists Lanny Morgan and Herb Geller in the mid-1950s. His career took off when his arrangement of “Up the Lazy River” became a hit in 1960 for Si Zentner’s band, with whom he worked as pianist and arranger from 1959–64. A mainstay on theL.A. studio scene, he also served as Julie Andrews’s music director for years.

Though he made a number of obscure albums in the late 1950s and 1960s, he came into his own as a band leader in 1978, when he began a series of big-band sessions featuring top LA jazz and studio players. Though his writing is solidly in the modern, mainstream, big-band tradition, his idiosyncratic and some-times brilliant charts demonstrate just how much room there is for individuality within that tradition. Since the late 1970s he has recorded for Trend, USA, Discovery, and Bosco, though in the 1990s he’s done work for the MAMA Foundation label.

Discography

State of the Art (1988); Funupmanship (1993); Treasure Chest (1994); With All the Bells and Whistles (1995); Earth (1997).

—Andrew Gilbert

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