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Lester Young: Standards (Great Songs/Great Performances)

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Album Review

Verve's Standards: Great Songs/Great Performances contains previously released tracks taken from Lester Young's stint with the label. Aimed at the casual listener, the eight tunes include such classics as "They Can't Take That Away from Me," "Oh Lady, Be Good!" "Stardust," and the second take of "I Cover the Waterfront" from a 1946 session with Nat Cole and Buddy Rich. The highlights presented here should be enough to keep the novice jazz listener interested in searching out more material, especially Lester Swings, 13 tunes culled from the massive eight-disc box set Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions on Verve.


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) had the ironic experience in the 1950s of hearing many young tenors try to sound exactly like him. Although he spent his earliest days near New Orleans, Lester Young lived in Minneapolis...
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