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Lester Young


Lester "Prez" Young was one of the giants of the tenor saxophone. He was the greatest improviser between Coleman Hawkins and Louis Armstrong of the 1920s and Charlie Parker in the 1940s. From the beginning, he set out to be different: He had his own lingo; In the Forties, he grew his hair out. The other tenor players held their saxophones upright in front of them, so Young held his out to the side, kind of like a flute (see picture above). Then, there was the way he played: Hawkins played around harmonic runs. He played flurries of notes and had a HUGE tone that the other tenor players of the day emulated. Young used a softer tone that resulted In a soft, light sound (if you didn't know better, you would think the two were playing different instruments). Young used less notes and slurred notes together, creating more melodic solos. He played the ordinary in an extraordinary way, using a lot of subtleties to produce music that Billie Holiday said flips you out of your seat with surprise.


Article: Rising Stars

Introducing Saxophonist Anirudh Chakravarthy

Read "Introducing Saxophonist Anirudh Chakravarthy" reviewed by Sanford Josephson

This article previously appeared in Jersey Jazz Magazine. Tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves' 27-chorus solo on “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" with the Duke Ellington Orchestra at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival is etched in jazz history. It energized the Newport audience and rejuvenated Ellington's band. So, the prospect of recreating that ...


Article: Profile

Marshall Allen: A Century of Joyful Noise

Read "Marshall Allen: A Century of Joyful Noise" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Marshall Allen turned 100 years old on May 25, 2024. Back in 1995, when Allen inherited the leadership of the Sun Ra Arkestra at the age of 71, you would have got pretty good odds that he would not be holding the chair nearly thirty years hence. But the cosmology of the Sun Ra Arkestra, and ...

Article: My Favourite Things

Marco Tiraboschi e il Questionario di Proust

Read "Marco Tiraboschi e il Questionario di Proust" reviewed by Paolo Peviani

Chitarrista, si definisce musicista creativo ed eclettico. La sua musica mescola elementi di jazz, classica contemporanea, echi dei Balcani e del mediterraneo, ed ambisce ad una sintesi quanto più possibile personale e comunicativa. Nel suo ultimo album, In a New World, realizzato in compagnia di Giulio Corini al contrabbasso e Daniele Richiedei a violino ...


Article: Interview

Albert "Tootie" Heath: Class Personified

Read "Albert "Tootie" Heath: Class Personified" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

This article was first published on All About Jazz on March 9, 2015. Albert “Tootie" Heath is among the drummers who lived--and thrived--during what many call the golden age of jazz, the '40s, '50, early '60s. He's enjoyed the fruits of a varied and historic career, but never stayed put. Just kept working. He ...


Article: Journey into Jazz

Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases

Read "Record Store Day 2024 Jazz Releases" reviewed by Kyle Simpler

Every year, Record Store Day (RSD) promises limited edition vinyl releases for all tastes in music. From the latest popular artists to the most obscure archival releases, RSD drops try to cover a lot of musical territory. Practically all genres of music are represented and, of course, jazz is no exception. Fortunately, the April 2024 drop ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Sahib Shihab, Danish Radio Big Band, Mohamed Najem

Read "Sahib Shihab, Danish Radio Big Band, Mohamed Najem" reviewed by David Brown

Welcome friends and neighbors to The Jazz Continuum. Old, new, in, out... wherever the music takes us. Each week, we will explore the elements of jazz from a historical perspective. This week, Sahib Shihab in Scandinavia; The Danish Radio Big Band as led by Thad Jones and Mhio Hazama. I'm also back from Paris record store ...


Article: Multiple Reviews

Joel Dorn's Nine Lives: Label M and Live at the Left Bank

Read "Joel Dorn's Nine Lives: Label M and Live at the Left Bank" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

This article was first published at All About Jazz on March 6, 2001. It wasn't but a few years ago that veteran record producer Joel Dorn and a business partner founded 32 Records, a label devoted to re-releasing the old Muse and Landmark catalogs and releasing previously unheard live recordings by major jazz artists. ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Bud Powell, Barry Harris, Les McCann & Larry Vuckovich

Read "Bud Powell, Barry Harris, Les McCann & Larry Vuckovich" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We dedicate the 838th Episode of Neon Jazz to a titan on the keys in Larry Vuckovich. In that vein, we cover a host of musicians and vignettes that make up his storied career. From musicians like Duke Ellington, Eddie Vinson, Barry Harris, Lester Young, Horace Parlan, Bud Powell and Jon Hendricks. We wrap it up ...


Article: Album Review

Ann Hampton Callaway: Finding Beauty. Originals. Volume 1

Read "Finding Beauty. Originals. Volume 1" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci

"This is my most personal record," Callaway says. “Throughout my career, I've loved singing the great jazz classics and selections from the Great American Songbook, but I've always snuck my original songs on various projects. The pandemic made me think, 'I don't know if I'll live through this, but if I do, what's at the top ...


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