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Small Groups of the 1930s – Chu, Little Jazz, Rabbit and Pres (1937 - 1940)

Read "Small Groups of the 1930s – Chu, Little Jazz, Rabbit and Pres (1937 - 1940)" reviewed by Russell Perry

While the jazz of the thirties was predominantly remembered as coming from orchestras and big bands, seminal soloists continued to record memorable music in small group settings, setting the stage for disruptive industry transitions to come in the 1940s. Small groups led by Chu Berry, Roy Eldridge, Johnny Hodges and Lester Young in this hour of Jazz at 100. Playlist Host Intro 0:00 Chu Berry And His Stompy Stevedores. “Limehouse Blues" from Chu Berry: 1937-- 1941 (Classics) 2:30 ...


Iron Men

Read "Iron Men" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

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

Read "Telling Stories and Singing Songs" reviewed by Peter Rubie

“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

Read "Tag Team Jazz, Part 2-2" reviewed by Nathan Holaway

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

Read "100 Years - Forever Young" reviewed by Chris Mosey

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

Read "Centennial Celebration Lester Young" reviewed by Andrew Velez

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

Read "Lester Leaps In... To His 100th Birthday" reviewed by David Amram

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

Read "The Lester Young/Count Basie Sessions 1936-1940" reviewed by AAJ Staff

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

Read "Being Prez: The Life & Music of Lester Young" reviewed by J. Robert Bragonier

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

Read "Live at Birdland" reviewed by Graham L. Flanagan

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

Read "Jazz Slang" reviewed by AAJ Staff

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

Read "The Complete Savoy Recordings" reviewed by Jim Santella

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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