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Leonard, Harlan (Quentin)

Leonard, Harlan (Quentin), jazz (soprano, alto, tenor) saxophonist, leader; b. Kansas City, Mo., July 2, 1905; d. Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 10, 1983. He played clarinet in the Lincoln H.S. Band, taught by Major N. Clark Smith, and later received instruction from George Wilkenson and Eric “Paul” Tremarne. After playing briefly with George E. Lee’s Band in Kansas City (1923), he played with Bennie Moten from late 1923 until 1931. With trombonist Thamon Hayes, Leonard co-led the Kansas City Skyrockets. After working in and around Kansas City, the group moved to Chicago in 1934. Hayes returned to Kansas City shortly after, and Leonard became the group’s sole leader. This unit disbanded in 1937. The following year Leonard reorganized his own band, using several members of Jimmy Keith’s Band. Following residencies in Kansas City, the band went to N.Y. and in 1940 appeared at the Savoy Ballroom and the Golden Gate Ballroom, and then returned to the Midwest, later taking up residency at Fairyland Park, Kansas City. In the spring of 1943, Leonard led the band for a residency at the Hollywood Club (L.A.), during this engagement he began fronting the band for the first time. He continued playing regularly until the mid-1940s, then took a permanent managerial position with the L.A. Internal Revenue Bureau. His brother, Walter, was a professional tenor saxophonist.

—John Chilton, Who‘s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter

Leonard, Harlan (Quentin)

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