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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)

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

The Archive of Contemporary Music

Read "The Archive of Contemporary Music" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In Lower Manhattan, sits a musical gold mine. It's the motherlode of recorded music though the small, brightly colored sign above a grey steel door provides only a cryptic clue. The dusty window display of rare 78 RPM records, broken into erratic pie charts serves as a vestige of the past and a cautionary tale about ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Two Twin-Tenor Duos

Read "Two Twin-Tenor Duos" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

The idea of two tenor saxophonists playing together has a long, storied history in jazz through pairings like Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray, Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, and Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. Such duos have become harder to find in recent years but here are two newer examples. Jeff Rupert / ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

A Jazz Immuno-Booster: Part 1

Read "A Jazz Immuno-Booster: Part 1" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

We may still be months away from developing vaccines to tame the threat that COVID19 poses to our bodies. But given the centrality of the mind-body connection for our physical well being, we should not forget that we continue to have music to support our minds during these challenging times. So I have reached ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Hank Mobley: The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70

Read "The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

The music world has changed considerably since Michael Cuscuna and Charlie Lourie founded their boutique reissue label Mosaic Records back in 1983. From its inception, vinyl was still the preferred format, shortly to be overtaken by the popularity of the compact disc. At the cusp of vinyl's recent resurgence, Mosaic briefly got back into that format ...

ARTICLE: HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker

Read "Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

"There's a little white cat out here who's going to eat you up." —Charlie Parker (to Miles Davis) Chet Baker and Miles Davis. Two trumpet players born three years apart. Both unusually handsome and slight of build. Both lacking, as trumpeters, the qualities most often associated with those brass alphas of the jazz ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Maurizio Giammarco: Una musica che ci rende più umani

Read "Maurizio Giammarco: Una musica che ci rende più umani" reviewed by Paolo Marra

Il sassofonista Maurizio Giammarco ha presentato 11 Gennaio in prima assoluta al Teatro Studio Borgna il suo nuovo lavoro dal titolo Only Human nell'ambito del Recording Studio, la rassegna che dà la possibilità al pubblico di assistere alla registrazione dal vivo dei dischi prodotti dell'etichetta Parco Della Musica Records. Il titolo del disco ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Prez Day: Lester Young

Prez Day: Lester Young

Today in the U.S. we are celebrating a national holiday honoring Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Originally conceived in the 1880s as a day of tribute to George Washington on his birthday, February 22, the holiday was moved to the month's third Monday in 1968 when Congress shifted most holidays to Mondays and decided to ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Stan Kenton and His Orchestra: A Kenton Trilogy, Part 1: Dance Time

Read "A Kenton Trilogy, Part 1: Dance Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Better late than never. Having already appraised Part 2 of Sounds of Yesteryear's three-part salute to the Stan Kenton Orchestra, it seemed only proper that the same should be done (albeit out of order) for Part 1 (and Part 3 as well, whenever it is released). Unlike Part 2, which is devoted to the artistry of ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim: A Musical Love Story and a Timeless Recording

Read "Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim: A Musical Love Story and a Timeless Recording" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

One of my all-time favorite albums and desert island picks is Elis and Tom (Phillips, 1974), featuring duets by the legendary Antonio Carlos “Tom" Jobim and Elis Regina, an iconic Brazilian singer lesser known in the U.S. who a few years later died of a drug overdose at the age of 36. I'm writing about it ...


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