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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)

Meet Jonathan Glass

Read "Meet Jonathan Glass" reviewed by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper

New York, New York, we can't imagine our latest jazz Super Fan thriving anywhere else, inspired as he is by the sports teams, the museums, the art galleries, the theater, and the jazz clubs---perhaps most of all, the jazz clubs. You might have spotted him, sketchbook in hand, capturing the spirit of the night's performance for ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Tim Garland: ReFocus

Read "ReFocus" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Strings and Tim Garland have always resonated well together. A leading figure of British jazz since the early 2000s, Garland emerged from a classical background, having studied classical composition at the Guildhall School of Music. His dual idioms have converged persuasively on albums such as If The Sea Replied (Sirocco Music Limited, 2005), Libra (Global Mix, ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists

Read "Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

[The following is a commentary on pianist Richie Beirach's 2020 e-book The Historical Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano: The 10 Essential Players (Conversations between Richie Beirach and Michael Lake), downloadable for free here.] Jazz piano has always garnered (no intended reference to Erroll Garner) special interest among the instruments because it is truly an ...

Charlie Parker: Ten High Flying Albums Of Paradigm Shifting Genius

Read "Charlie Parker: Ten High Flying Albums Of Paradigm Shifting Genius" reviewed by Chris May

Born in Kansas City, Kansas in 1920, and brought up across the state line in anything-goes, jazz-friendly Kansas City, Missouri, controlled from the mid 1920s to the late 1930s by the spectacularly corrupt politician Tom Prendergast, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker lived fast and hard and passed in 1955, aged only 34 years. A founding father of ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

August Birthdays

Read "August Birthdays" reviewed by Marc Cohn

August birthdays this week, celebrating the centennials of Charlie Parker, singer Jimmy Witherspoon and bassist George Duvivier. George only did one session as a leader for a French label, which I have never been able to find. So, we pair him with other August celebrants: Jimmy Rushing, Lester Young, Arnett Cobb and Art Farmer. We also ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Susie Meissner: Tea for Two

Read "Tea for Two" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Natural but determined evolution makes for well conceived and produced projects. Vocalist Susie Meissner has proved this statement as she progressed from her debut recording I'll Remember April (Lydian Jazz, 2009), through her sophomore effort, I'm Confessin' (Lydian Jazz, 2011) to the present Tea for Two. Using a well-worn repertoire, Meissner, mostly with the support of ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Lester Young on Verve

Lester Young on Verve

Lester Young was born on August 27, 1909 and died March 15, 1959. Known as Prez or Pres (short for President, a nickname Billie Holiday gave him), the tenor saxophonist was famous for his cool and airy relaxed style that modernized the tenor saxophone. Instead of improvising with an aggressive, vertical chopping approach, his sound was ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!

Read "Charlie Parker: In Praise of Bird on His 100th Birthday!" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

A hundred years ago, on August 29, 1920, soon after jazz was born, Charlie Parker came into this world, and in the 35 years of a life cut short by addictions and impulse-driven living, he changed the face of the music. His innovations as one of the creators of bebop and his stunning sound and virtuosic ...

NEWS: BIRTHDAY

Jazz Musician of the Day: Lester Young

Jazz Musician of the Day: Lester Young

All About Jazz is celebrating Lester Young's birthday today! 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 ...


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