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LEW ENTIN - Entertainment Bureau

    Lew Entin...once told me, "I started out in the music business as a song-plugger for Mills Music Publishing Co. in New York City. In those days back in the '30s and '40s, we would present new songs to the Vocalists, Big Bands, and Musicians for exposure. That's what a song-plugger did in those days."

During the mid-1960s, while I was working with Al Antonio and the Lyrics at the Sheiks Lounge in Orlando, Florida I had a chance to meet Lew Entin on the different occasions when he would stop by to see us perform. He was friendly with Al Antonio, the leader of the Lyrics. He also enjoyed listening to the vocal talents of Al and his wife Audrey. Audrey had a sultry sounding voice that could be compared to that of vocalist Julie London. At that time, Lew was representing various jazz musicians and was helping vocalist Johnny Hartman with his recording career. Along with experience as a song-plugger with a major music publisher, his ear for music was unbelievable. He had confidence that the songs he presented to Al Antonio, would be sure to launch Al's career as a major recording artist. Unfortunately, the scheduling of time and contractual matters were unable to be resolved and the project between the two never got off the ground.  

Although Lew Entin was not a musician, his love for jazz was as big as his heart. During his career he worked extremely hard to obtain the position of an independent agent that represented a number of jazz artists including Billy Eckstine, Terry Gibbs, Arthur Prysock and brother Red Prysock, Johnny Hartman, comedian Redd Foxx, Illinois Jacquet, and vocalist Herb Jefferies.     Lew had two events that were his claim to fame . The first occurred in the early years, of his career. Lew introduced the song "Flamingo" to Herb Jefferies. This recording became a hit and made Jefferies a hot property of the time. His other claim was managing the careers of a Las Vegas lounge act called the "Strong Brothers." The brothers were novelty Dwarf act with an abundance of comedy and musical talent. They fronted a six-piece combo of musicians who played jazz between their nightly shows. These musicians were multi-talented entertainers in both vocal as well as instrumental presentations.   As the group was gaining popularity while working the major Las Vegas hotel lounges of The Sands, Sahara, The Thunderbird Hotel and the Desert Inn, itwas inevitable that television was their next stop. Their big break came after Lew Entin negotiated a deal with Ed Sullivan and put, the Strong Brothers on Sullivan's “Toast of the Town” weekly television show. There was a period that Lew and I had lost contact with each other for some reason or another. We got together again in 1979International Entertainment Associates Ltd. (IEA). I travelled to Atlantic City to open an East Coast branch office theatrical agency of American Creative Entertainment (ACE), with a close friend and colleague Tony Angelo. The agency was based in Las Vegas and had a successful record of accomplishment for providing many of the top name performers that played the leading showrooms on the Las Vegas Strip. A short time later, American Creative Entertainment later became International Entertainment Associates Ltd. (IEA). It was Atlantic City Press columnist Sonny Schwartz, a mutual friend of ours, who brought us together again. During that meeting, we discussed many new ideas for entertainment packages for the new casinos that were being built in Atlantic City. We also met with Charles ‘Honi’ Coles, Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie and Woody Herman for possible concert bookings in Atlantic City. Lew would often talk about the old days when he spent much time with Charlie Parker, Illinois Jacquet, Roy Eldridge and Harry James. One of the things he remembered most about Charlie Parker, which gave me more of an insight on Parker's personality, was his intelligence. "There's no question that Charlie Parker was a great innovator and contributor to jazz as a Bebop player. However, he was also a very intelligent and educated man that had extensive knowledge of languages and different dialects. During a conversation he was able to segue from English into many authentic sounding dialects of French, German, Italian, Spanish and more While living in the Baltimore, MD - Washington, D.C. area for quite some time, Lew was active in booking entertainment and jazz groups for the Surf Club, on Pulaski Highway, The Latin Casino, The Chanticleer and the Dixie Pig, a roadside club near Washington, D.C. This nightclub featured many of the popular rhythm & blues, jazz and house-rocking bands that always drew standing room only crowds.      

 

 While living in the Baltimore, MD - Washington, D.C. area for quite some time, Lew was active in booking entertainment and jazz groups for the Surf Club, on Pulaski Highway, The Latin Casino, The Chanticleer and the Dixie Pig, a roadside club near Washington, D.C. 

This nightclub featured many of the popular rhythm & blues, jazz and house-rocking bands that always drew standing room only crowds. The Dixie Pig was where popular recording star Bo Diddley shared the stage and engagements with Earl Bostic, Red Prysock, Freddie Bell & the Bellboys, Birdie Castle and the Stardusters, Johnny Saint and the Joyriders, blues singer Joe Turner Steve Gibson & the Red Caps, featuringvocalists Damita Jo, plus his longtime friends The Treniers. 

Many times, his friend Redd Foxx would call from sunny California and try to convince Lew to do a cameo segment on the popular TV show "Sanford and Son." Lew always declined. He felt more comfortable when he was behind the scenes. A few months before his death I received a call from him. He was in Miami Beach, Florida recuperating from a massive stroke but he wanted to let me know he had placed a full-page ad in the Variety newspaper that said THANK YOU to the many friends in the jazz and entertainment fields that had made his career such a memorable one.

Sadly, Lew Entin is no longer with us. A short time after, he died in December of 1995. All who knew Lew Entin will miss him, a true gentleman in the often-cruel music and entertainment industry.

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Reader Comments (2)

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March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMusic Websites
Thanks for the visit to the website - more interesting material to follow in the coming days.

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April 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterDanny Luciano

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