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Jazz Masters: Lester Young

Lester Young

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Album Review

Although serious fans and collectors will have little use for the disc, Ultimate Lester Young is a solid collection of 12 highlights from the saxophonist's Verve recordings as selected by Wayne Shorter. For the curious neophyte, the disc offers a good overview of Young's time at the label, featuring the saxophonist in a variety of different settings, including combos with Harry "Sweets" Edison, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich, Nat King Cole, Roy Eldridge, and Count Basie. Certainly, the disc should be thought of as an introduction, not the final word, but on that level it works very well. Among the featured numbers are "Pennies from Heaven" and "Lester Leaps Again."

Biography

Born: August 27, 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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