His name at birth was Abraham Simon. He and his brother, Mike, changed their last name to Lyman because they both thought it sounded better. Abe learned to play the drums when he was young, and at the age of 14 he had a job as a drummer in a Chicago café. Around 1919, he was regularly playing music with two other notable future big band leaders, Henry Halstead and Gus Arnheim, in California.
Lyman appeared on radio as early as 1922. His orchestra was broadcast from The Ambassador Hotel by late March on KOG.
After the band cut their first record under the local label Nordskog Records, they moved a year later to Brunswick Records in summer of 1923. There they made many recordings and were one of Brunswick's leading orchestras through 1935, when Lyman signed to Decca Records.
Abe Lyman & His California Orchestra - Baby feet go pitter patter