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Articles | Featured | Future


Iron Men

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We end 2018 with a bang as the podcast celebrates its sixth--or iron--anniversary. Did you give your significant other a rose dipped in metal for your sixth? If you didn't, shame on you! Get dipping--it's never too late. As per usual at these shindigs, we discuss groups comprised of the number of musicians that the anniversary is -er, sextets, in this case. Happy New Year! Playlist Discussion of Lester Young's Kansas City Six recordings from the thirties on ...


Telling Stories and Singing Songs

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“I believe if you're paying a man to play, and that man is on the bandstand and can play, he should get a chance to tell his story." --Lester Young Prez was once asked how to improvise, and reportedly he said, “Tell them a story." Telling stories about living the jazz life in the early 21st is the heart of what this column is going to be about. Pour yourself a beer or a glass of wine, and ...

Tag Team Jazz, Part 2-2

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Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz has always celebrated rugged individuality, praising those who appreciate others but stay on their own path. So what happens when two (or more intelligent and original musicians come together? Most of the time, pure magic. Stellar tag teams have made some of the finest records in jazz history. Lester Young: Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Norgran, 1954) One of Young's greatest sessions, with Prez in ...


Lester Young: 100 Years - Forever Young

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In October 1944, Lester Young, one of the most influential saxophonists in jazz, was inducted into the US army. In the 15 months that followed he was subjected to blatant racial prejudice then court martialed for possession of marijuana and alcohol and sentenced to a year in a detention barracks. He returned to civilian life severely traumatized. As a result, the received wisdom is it's not worth listening to recordings made by Young after his discharge. This ...


Lester Young: Centennial Celebration Lester Young

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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 ...


Lester Leaps In... To His 100th Birthday

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For Lester Young on his 100th birthdayI just went to a birthday celebration I will never forget. Maybe some in America have forgotten Lester Young, known as Prez (i.e., the president of the tenor saxophone), but people all over the world are still moved every time they hear the classic recordings of this giant. Prez was someone who helped change the face of jazz, and inspire people who listened to cherish the moments in their lives ...


Lester Young: The Lester Young/Count Basie Sessions 1936-1940

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By Duck Baker No doubt most of the people buying this box know that the music it contains is necessary to any serious jazz collection (if not to life itself). But to spell it out for any who haven't got the word yet, Count Basie's pre-war band epitomized that core quality in jazz called swing. And saxophonist Lester Young was the first soloist who showed that it was possible for others to reach the incredible heights achieved by ...


Being Prez: The Life & Music of Lester Young

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Being Prez: The Life & Music of Lester Young Dave Gelly Hardcover; 170 pages. ISBN: 978 0195334777 Oxford University Press 2008 A New History of Jazz, arguably the seminal jazz history text, was written in 2001 by Alyn Shipton, a Brit. Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia, from 2006, previously reviewed by this writer here, and in my view the most interesting and current of available jazz ...


Lester Young: Live at Birdland

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Whenever a label decides to blow the dust off of a live Lester Young recording, the results are unlikely to disappoint. Such is the case with Live at Birdland, which fits on one disc three different live radio broadcasts. The first of the three sets was recorded January 15, 1953 and broadcast on NBC radio. Of the three performances heard here, this set curiously features the finest audio quality, though the second two were recorded three years ...


Jazz Slang

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From just about its inception, Jazz has had a (spoken) language all its own. Though most words haven't seen the light of day outside of a jazz club, quite a few have found their way into the mainstream American lexicon, and are still bandied about today. Words like, hip, cat and daddy-o have helped contribute to Jazz's “cool" mystique. This list contains a few of those colloquial gems; if you know of any others, please send ...


Lester Young: The Complete Savoy Recordings

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Savoy’s complete compilation travels through two and a half hours of Lester Young’s studio sessions and rehearsal time. There are several takes for many of the numbers, and the listener has the opportunity to weigh which takes really matter. They all sound great. Some amount to false starts, and others appear to have minor balance differences. Each track comes from an all-star ensemble or big band that features – alongside the revered tenor saxophonist – soloists Billy Butterfield, Hank D’Amico, ...


Lester Young: The Complete Savoy Recordings

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Savoy Jazz continues to celebrate it’s revival by releasing a complete anthology of Lester ‘Prez” Young’s recordings for Savoy. This collection is divided into two separate and distinct periods in Young’s life. The first to be explored is the recordings he did in a two-week period in 1944 as both a sideman and as a bandleader. The first twenty tracks are culled from sessions he did on April 18th of 1944 with the Johnny Guarnieri All-Star Orchestra ...