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Famous Male Bandleaders

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Updated June 14, 2019 62.9k views 419 items

List of famous male bandleaders, listed by their level of prominence with photos when available. This greatest male bandleaders list contains the most prominent and top males known for being bandleaders. There are thousand of males working as bandleaders in the world, but this list highlights only the most notable ones. Historic bandleaders have worked hard to become the best that they can be, so if you're a male aspiring to be a bandleader then the people below should give you inspiration.

List is made up of many different big male bandleaders, including Ray Charles and Clifford Thornton.

While this isn't a list of all male bandleaders, it does answer the questions "Who are the most famous male bandleaders?" and "Who are the best male bandleaders?"
James Brown is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Male Bandleaders
Photo: Getty Images/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment

James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music and dance, he is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul". In a career that lasted 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres.Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He joined an R&B vocal group, the Gospel Starlighters (which later evolved into the Famous Flames) founded by Bobby Byrd, in which he was the lead singer. First coming to national public attention in the late 1950s as a member of the singing group The Famous Flames with the hit ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 73 (1933-2006)

Birthplace: Barnwell, South Carolina, United States of America

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Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Male Bandleaders
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

William James "Count" Basie (; August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two "split" tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others. Many musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 80 (1904-1984)

Birthplace: Red Bank, New Jersey, United States of America

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Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Male Bandleaders
Photo:  Hulton Deutsch/Getty Images

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase "beyond category" as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 75 (1899-1974)

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America

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Lawrence Welk is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Male Bandleaders
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain

Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903 – May 17, 1992) was an American musician, accordionist, bandleader, and television impresario, who hosted the television program The Lawrence Welk Show from 1951 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large audience of radio, television, and live-performance fans (and critics) as "champagne music". ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 89 (1903-1992)

Birthplace: Strasburg, North Dakota, United States of America