Lester Boone was born August 12, 1904 in Tuskegee, Alabama and studied at the Illinois College of Music before beginning his career in the Chicago bands of Alex Calamese, Charlie Elgar, Clarence Black and Carroll Dickerson. At the end of the 1920s he played in Albert Wynn’s Creole jazz band and on his recording Down by the Levee for Vocalion Records.
The following years he worked with Harry Dial, got his first big break playing with Earl Hines, and by the early Thirties was hitting with Louis Armstrong. He then moved on to play with Jerome Carrington, Emperor Marshall, Eubie Blake, the Mills Blue Rhythm Band and Jelly Roll Morton. Bouncing between Chicago and New York City he played with trumpeter Hot Lips Page and Eddie South. By 1941 he was accompanying Billie Holiday on her recording session of Am I Blue? on the Decca label.
With Tom Lord he was involved in 24 recording sessions between 1928 and 1941. From the early 1940s into the Sixties he played in New York with his own bands including with Everett Barksdale at clubs such as Harvey’s and the Lucky Bar.
Alto and baritone saxophonist and clarinetist Lester Boone, who had the honor of having the great Satchmo personally introduce his solo in that unmistakable growly voice of his, passed away in 1989.