Les Spann

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Les Spann
Birth nameLeslie Spann Jr.
Born(1932-05-23)May 23, 1932
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
DiedJanuary 24, 1989(1989-01-24) (aged 56)
New York City
InstrumentsGuitar, flute
Years active1957–1967

Leslie Spann Jr. (May 23, 1932 – January 24, 1989) was an American jazz guitarist and flautist.[1] As a sideman he recorded with Nat Adderley, Benny Bailey, Bill Coleman, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Curtis Fuller, Red Garland, Benny Goodman, Sam Jones, Abbey Lincoln, Charles Mingus, Duke Pearson, Jerome Richardson, Charlie Shavers, Sonny Stitt, Billy Taylor, Randy Weston, and Ben Webster. As a leader he recorded only once, the album Gemini in 1961.[2][1]


Les Spann was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, United States.[1] From 1950–1957, he studied music at Tennessee State University.[1] At the end of that time he worked with Phineas Newborn Jr.[1] and in 1958 with Ronnell Bright. The following year, he joined a quintet in New York City led by Dizzy Gillespie, performing solos on flute and guitar and appearing on two of Gillespie's albums for Verve Records.[1] After a year with Gillespie, he went to Europe as a member of Quincy Jones's big band.[1] Two more albums followed, this time with Spann joining a sextet that included Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, and Harry "Sweets" Edison.[1] He recorded with Hodges again in 1967, then disappeared from the music industry.

He died in New York City in 1989.[2]


As leader[edit]

  • Gemini (Jazzland, 1961)

As sideman[edit]

With Bill Coleman

  • From Boogie to Funk (1960)
  • The Great Parisian Session (1960)

With Duke Ellington

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Johnny Hodges

With Quincy Jones

With Sam Jones

With Sonny Stitt

With others


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 413. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.