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Articles | Stream | Future

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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 ...

PROFILES

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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 ...

BOOK REVIEWS

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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 ...

JUST FOR FUN

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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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, ...


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