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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)

Prestige Records: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Prestige Records: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Along with Alfred Lion's Blue Note and Orrin Keepnews' Riverside, Bob Weinstock's Prestige was at the top table of independent New York City-based jazz labels from the early 1950s until the mid 1960s. Like those other two labels, Prestige built up a profuse catalogue packed with enduring treasures. Originally a record retailer, Weinstock ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Yuri Honing: Sounds And Vision

Read "Yuri Honing: Sounds And Vision" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Strange that such a gruesome tale, drowning in blood, could have inspired so much great art. So it goes with Bluebeard, the seventeenth century French folktale, which continues to inspire artists to this day. Dutch saxophonist/composer Yuri Honing's Bluebeard (2020)-- his fourth album on Challenge Records with his acoustic quartet--is not just a highly personal take ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Walter Smith III: In Common 2

Read "In Common 2" reviewed by Paul Rauch

The musical paths of saxophonist/composer Walter Smith III and guitarist/composer Matthew Stevens have crossed on many occasions over the years, touring and recording together in their respective bands and those of Esperanza Spalding, Ambrose Akinmusire, Terence Blanchard, Dave Douglas and Terri Lynne Carrington. They first recorded together in 2017, convening a stellar band to ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Brian Landrus: For Now

Read "For Now" reviewed by Doug Hall

Low-register reed specialist and multi-instrumentalist and composer Brian Landrus confronted a difficult period in his life and used adversity to inspire a passionate declaration in song on his 2020 release For Now (BlueLand Records). He took advice from the late valve-trombonist, composer and educator Bob Brookmeyer, “book a recording session before you have the music composed—then ...

Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten

Read "Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten" reviewed by Chris May

From 1953, when it was set up, to 1964, when it was acquired by ABC, Riverside Records rivalled Blue Note and Prestige as one of the leading independent jazz labels based in New York City. The founders of all three labels were jazz fans who operated on slim margins and became producers partly because they enjoyed ...

ARTICLE: REASSESSING

Piano

Read "Piano" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Following his debut as a leader on, Wynton Kelly: New Faces -New Sounds (Blue Note, 1951), pianist Kelly surfaced again some seven years later, this time on Riverside Records, with the simply titled Piano. The length of time between leader recordings is a testament to the pianist's value in a supporting role for artists like Dinah ...

ARTICLE: REASSESSING

New Faces - New Sounds

Read "New Faces - New Sounds" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

In the early 1950s, Blue Note Records introduced new artists in the label's series New Faces -New Sounds. It highlighted such young artists as Horace Silver (1952); Lou Donaldson (1952); Elmo Hope (1953); and Frank Foster (1954). All of these recordings were released as part of Blue Note Record's 5000 Modern Jazz Series, all on 10-inch ...

ARTICLE: SOCAL JAZZ

Frank Tiberi: The Thundering is Still Heard

Read "Frank Tiberi: The Thundering is Still Heard" reviewed by Jim Worsley

The term “ninety-two years young" is a bit cliché, but if the shoe fits (oops, another cliché). Saxophonist Frank Tiberi (pictured above playing with saxophonist and long time friend George Garzone to the left) spoke with the verve and energy of a much younger man. He got excited, as if being back in the moment, when ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

MY IRIS: MY IRIS Live!

Read "MY IRIS Live!" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Unable to undertake its scheduled April tour due to COVID 19, MY IRIS, the quartet led by saxophonist Trish Clowes, releases this live recording culled from gigs in Belfast and Galway in October 2019. Captured on Zoom recorder, Clewes has done an admirable job in producing a presentable sound on this digital-download, Bandcamp release. More importantly, ...


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