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Blue Lester

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Album Review

Basically Young's Savoy Master Takes, Blue Lester finds the svelte tenor innovator on a prime mix of sides from 1944 and 1949. As was the trend of most swing soloists by the mid-'40s, Young heads up a few different extended combos here, featuring the likes of pianist Johnny Guarnieri, trumpeter Jesse Drakes, drummer Cozy Cole, and old Basie bandmates Freddie Green and the Count himself. The numbers with Basie are particularly good, especially "I Don't Stand a Ghost of Chance With You" and "Back Home in Indiana." And for the topper, Young is heard in the company of the entire Basie band (Clyde Hart is on piano, though) for the three tracks that close things out. Not a bad place to start your Lester Young collection.

Biography

Born: 27 August 1909 in Woodville, MS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

Lester Young was one of the true jazz giants, a tenor saxophonist who came up with a completely different conception in which to play his horn, floating over bar lines with a light tone rather than adopting Coleman Hawkins' then-dominant forceful approach. A non-conformist, Young (nicknamed "Pres" by Billie Holiday)...
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