Les Brown with his Duke Blue Devils dance band, circa 1935.
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Image of the band sitting in chairs and Les Brown standing at a microphone. Front row, l to r:  Herb Muse (sax & vocalist), Joe Gardrou (alto sax), Les Brown (standing), Dutch McMillan(tenor sax), Gus Brannou (tenor sax), Coon Plyler (piano).

Back row, l to r:  Walt Moffet (trombone), Bob Thorn (trumpet), Jack Atkins (trumpet), unknown (trumpet), Don Kramer (drums), Tom Herb (tuba)

Credit: Courtesy of Les Brown, Jr.,

After attending Ithaca Conservatory of Music, where he studied alto sax and the clarinet, Les Brown enrolled at Duke University where in 1935 he became leader of a dance band called the Duke Blue Devils. The Duke Blue Devils toured the east coast and cut an album before Brown moved to New York to work as an arranger. There, in 1938, he started the group that became Les Brown and his Band of Renown.

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