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Jazz Articles about Billy Lester

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Liner Notes

Billy Lester: Unabridged

Read "Billy Lester: Unabridged" reviewed by Howard Mandel


Pianist Billy Lester is a musical original. That's obvious from the first, oh, 17 seconds of Unabridged, his sixth album and second all-solo recording. Listen to the unusual, brief motif with which Lester opens “Overture: Passionate Musings," then develops, complicates and completes it faster than you'd tie a shoelace. Pause--and he continues. Not to just recapitulate or elaborate the cell-like theme through variation, but to expand it as a theme in a concentrated, melodically flowing way that's not ...

4
Album Review

The Billy Lester Trio: Italy 2016

Read "Italy 2016" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Piano trios jazz can charm or seduce, and occasionally mesmerize. In modern times, they can also rock the house, but they seldom jump out of the speakers at you with joy. The Billy Lester Trio,  Italy 2016, does just that. The initial impression of pianist Lester's influences--as the opener “An Evening With Friends" plays--is Bud Powell. The music has a bounce and ebullience, a joy of life that was essential to Powell's artistry. Further listening and the Lenny Tristano tint ...

234
Album Review

Billy Lester: Visceral

Read "Visceral" reviewed by Francis Lo Kee


On this set of five standards and one original, pianist Billy Lester displays a strong original approach to jazz improvisation. He also leads a flexible, yet muscular trio, that moves along with him with telepathic skill. Lester has a wide range of approaches: single-note right-hand lines, dissonant block chords, left-hand bass runs that move in counterpoint to the right hand (and his use of the low register piano is fairly unique to most of what you hear ...

170
Album Review

Billy Lester: Four into Four

Read "Four into Four" reviewed by Elliott Simon


Four into Four, recorded live at NYC’s Roulette, with its sense of swing and tight rhythms, gives the impression that the Billy Lester Quartet can see for miles, but then those who stand on the shoulders of giants can. Pianist Lester is a self-admitted anachronism who during the ‘50s and ‘60s, while piano jazz evolved modally along the route charted by Bill Evans and McCoy Tyner, became a Powell/Tristano and Louis Armstrong devotee. His writing style turns a jazz standard, ...


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