Hite, Les, alto saxophonist, pianist, xylophonist, leader; b. DuQuoin, III, Feb. 13, 1903; d. Santa Monica, Calif., Feb. 6, 1962. He attended school in Urbana, then studied at the Univ. of 111. He played sax in his family’s band, then worked with Detroit Shannon’s Band before touring with the Heler Dewey Show. After the show folded in L.A., he joined the Spikes Brothers Orch. (1925) and worked for various leaders: Mutt Carey, Paul Howard, Curtis Mosby, Vernon Elkins, and drummer Henry ’Tin Can” Allen. He led his own band at Solomon Penny’s Dance Palace, September 1930; Hite began leading at Sebastian’s Cotton Club (deposing trumpeter Vernon Elkins). He led the band at the Cotton Club for many years, accompanying many guest stars including Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. The band also did a considerable amount of film-studio work, both soundtrack and visual. Hite continued to lead in L.A. from 1942 until 1945 when he quit full-time playing to organize his own business. For the last five years of his life he managed a booking agency.
—John Chilton Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter