All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

440

Lester Young: Centennial Celebration Lester Young

By

Sign in to view read count
Although he'd lived a scant 50 hard years when he died in 1959, tenor sax giant Lester Willis Young was and remains one of the most vital and influential forces in jazz. He used words as singularly as he played, dubbing Billie Holiday "Lady Day"; theirs was an incomparable musical pairing and she returned the favor, calling him "Prez" for president. Prez proved to be the key link between the early jazz of Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins with the bop of the '40s. Among the legions of players influenced by his playing were Stan Getz, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims.

Sides 1-7 in this Centennial Celebration are from a 1956 Washington, DC gig in a relatively intimate setting as Young swings comfortably with musicians mostly a generation younger than himself. His playing is elegant, eloquent and subtle. Inventiveness and brisk pace on "Tea For Two" transform that chestnut while on "I Can't Get Started" he slows down and plays real pretty. For "Oh Lady, Be Good," a standard from his celebrated days with the '30s Count Basie band, he kicks the tempo up, swinging solidly in tandem with trombonist Earl Swope. Throughout he displays the surprising rhythmic and melodic style for which he was famous. On "Just You, Just Me," Prez ebulliently calls out "beautiful" after a particularly sizzling drum solo from Jim Lucht.

The last three sides included are from Jazz at the Philharmonic performances and find Young in company with the likes ofOscar Peterson, Roy Eldridge, Herb Ellis and Max Roach, giants all. The closer is Young's own signature tune, "Lester Leaps In," with the blazing heat of his soloing eliciting cheers and whistles from the audience.

Track Listing: Jumpin' With Symphony Sid; Tea For Two; I Can't Get Started; Pennies From Heaven; I'm Confessin' (That I Love You); Oh; Lady; Be Good; Just You; Just Me; Undecided; I Cover the Waterfront; Lester Leaps In.

Personnel: Sides 1-9: Lester Young: tenor saxophone. Sides 1-7: Earl Swope: trombone; Bill Potts: piano; Norman Williams: bass; Jim Lucht: drums. Side 8: Flip Phillips: tenor saxophone; Roy Eldridge: trumpet; Hank Jones: piano; Ray Brown: bass; Max Roach: drums. Sides 9 and 10: Oscar Peterson: piano; Herb Ellis: guitar; Ray Brown: bass; J.C. Heard: drums.

Title: Centennial Celebration Lester Young | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Original Jazz Classics

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Building a Jazz Library
CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
CD/LP/Track Review
Book Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Classic 1936-1947 Count Basie and Lester Young Studio Sessions

Classic 1936-1947...

Mosaic Records
2016

buy
Boston 1950

Boston 1950

Uptown Records
2013

buy
 

The Pres

Jazz Anthology
2010

buy
100 Years - Forever Young

100 Years - Forever...

Storyville Records
2010

buy
Centennial Celebration Lester Young

Centennial...

Original Jazz Classics
2009

buy
The Lester Young/Count Basie Sessions 1936-1940

The Lester...

Mosaic Records
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read Ellipse CD/LP/Track Review
Ellipse
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 23, 2018
Read While We Still Have Bodies CD/LP/Track Review
While We Still Have Bodies
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 23, 2018
Read Ghost Town Blues Band CD/LP/Track Review
Ghost Town Blues Band
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2018
Read Toot Suite CD/LP/Track Review
Toot Suite
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 23, 2018
Read Love + Time + Divination CD/LP/Track Review
Love + Time + Divination
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2018
Read Gleb Kolyadin CD/LP/Track Review
Gleb Kolyadin
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 22, 2018
Read "The Street Doctor" CD/LP/Track Review The Street Doctor
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 26, 2018
Read "Langen ro" CD/LP/Track Review Langen ro
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 8, 2017
Read "A New Shade Of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A New Shade Of Blue
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Mopocalypse" CD/LP/Track Review Mopocalypse
by Anthony Shaw
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Satoko Fujii Solo" CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Bismuth" CD/LP/Track Review Bismuth
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 29, 2017