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Musician

Lester Young

Born:

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)

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Article: Interview

Cheryl Richards: Another Spring, Another Song

Read "Cheryl Richards: Another Spring, Another Song" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard


It can be hard to find new things to say in old songs, but after many years of singing the standards, some singers are still able to discover the secret of a song. Cheryl Richards is a shining example of a singer who has been able to prove the relevance of the standards for a modern ...

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Article: Interview

Stephane Mercier: New Saxophone Talent

Read "Stephane Mercier: New Saxophone Talent" reviewed by AAJ Staff


This article was originally published at All About Jazz in December 2001. Belgian alto saxophonist Stephane Mercier tolerates no boundaries. “I listened to some cheesy things when I was young--I don't mind. If I like something, I just put it," he proclaims about his approach to music. A new talent in the jazz world, ...

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Article: Book Excerpts

JD Allen: Just Keep Going

Read "JD Allen: Just Keep Going" reviewed by AAJ Staff


The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1, “JD Allen: Just Keep Going" from Philip Freeman's Ugly Beauty: Jazz in The 21st Century (ZerO Books, 2022). Queens, New York seems purposely designed to confuse travelers. It's January 2, 2020, a brisk but sunny day, and I'm to meet saxophonist JD Allen at Samurai ...

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Article: The Jazz Life

I Hear a Rhapsody

Read "I Hear a Rhapsody" reviewed by David Caudill


We put out a call to visitors to AAJ to tell us their stories about how jazz has impacted, indeed shaped their lives. David Caudill heard the call. David has lived in Cincinnati for three decades and spent a long career writing, both in journalism and for a short while in corporate communications. He ...

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Article: Profile

Stephen Philip Harvey: Big Band Superhero In the Making

Read "Stephen Philip Harvey: Big Band Superhero In the Making" reviewed by John Chacona


There's a passage in “Party Song," the concluding cut on the Stephen Philip Harvey Jazz Orchestra's debut recording, Smash! (Next Level, 2022) where the band claps hands, whoops and cheers over a syncopated praise-band saxophone riff. It's pure, unbridled joy and just like the exuberance implied by the exclamation point in the album's title, it's an ...

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Article: Live Review

Camilla George At The MAC

Read "Camilla George At The MAC" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Camilla George The MAC jny:Belfast, N. Ireland June 25, 2022 It was a sell-out crowd for Camilla George's Belfast gig, the penultimate stop on a ten-date tour of Ireland. In part, this no doubt reflected people's hunger for live music after the socio-cultural privations of lockdown, but above all, it ...

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Article: Interview

Oded Tzur: A Thrilling New Saxophone Colossus

Read "Oded Tzur: A Thrilling New Saxophone Colossus" reviewed by Chris May


Oded Tzur's 2020 album, Here Be Dragons, the Tel Aviv born, New York based tenor saxophonist's first release on ECM, triggered an eruption of purple prose. Critics competed to see who could convey the most enthusiasm. A few even suggested that the Tzur quartet was the inheritor of the mantle of the classic John Coltrane quartet. ...

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Article: Chats with Cats

The Jazz Artist: Takao Fujioka

Read "The Jazz Artist: Takao Fujioka" reviewed by B.D. Lenz


Although music is an auditory art form, for some, there has always been a strong visual component to it, particularly when album covers were at a high point. It's hard to imagine some of the most famous albums without simultaneously visualizing their iconic covers. At their best, they contribute to the ambience of the experience and ...

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Article: Interview

Jean-Luc Ponty: Imaginary Voyages, Part 1

Read "Jean-Luc Ponty: Imaginary Voyages, Part 1" reviewed by Peter Rubie


Part 1 | Part 2 Jazz is an art form that has been a singular hothouse of musical talent over the decades. There are, and have been, lots of not just great but brilliant players. But perhaps not unsurprisingly, there have been far fewer jazz originals. I mean by that, musicians whose playing has ...


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