Lester Young
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1909-08-27
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Lester Young

Lester Young Biography (BBC)

Together with Coleman Hawkins, Young was one of the most influential saxophonists of the swing era. His light, airy sound, and the melodic grace of his improvisations were in direct contrast to Hawkins's gruffer, more harmonically-based approach. Young's velvety tone and rapid articulation were major influences on the bebop generation of saxophonists that followed, notably Charlie Parker.

Young had grown up close to New Orleans, before going on the road with his father's family band. As well as this practical musical apprenticeship - Young tried several instruments before deciding on saxophone - he absorbed the styles of Jimmy Dorsey and Frankie Trumbauer from records. In the early 1930s he played in various territory bands, and settled in Kansas City in 1933.

The following year he first played with Count Basie, whom he rejoined in 1936 as a founder-member of the first great Basie band. Part of the band's style was built around the contrasting tenor styles of Young and Herschel Evans (who emulated Hawkins), and Young quickly established himself as one of the group's key soloists. He also played some beautiful, limpid clarinet solos with Basie's small group, the Kansas City Five.

During this time he also played on several of Billie Holiday's recordings with Teddy Wilson, committing to disc his very special musical relationship with the singer in which his phrasing created a delicate counterpoint to her vocals. He left Basie to lead his own groups from 1940-43, but returned to the band until his disastrous induction to the military in 1944.

After several nightmarish months - most of which were spent in detention - he was returned to civilian life, and began working as a freelance and occasional bandleader. His most high profile work during his last decade was with Jazz at the Philharmonic, playing in tenor 'battles' with other soloists including Hawkins. His final years were bedevilled by alcoholism, but he nevertheless produced some outstanding and heartfelt recordings, including a first-rate reunion with Wilson for the Verve label.

Lester Young Biography (Wikipedia)

Lester Willis Young (August 27, 1909 – March 15, 1959), nicknamed "Pres" or "Prez", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and occasional clarinetist.

Coming to prominence while a member of Count Basie's orchestra, Young was one of the most influential players on his instrument. In contrast to many of his hard-driving peers, Young played with a relaxed, cool tone and used sophisticated harmonies, using "a free-floating style, wheeling and diving like a gull, banking with low, funky riffs that pleased dancers and listeners alike".

Known for his hip, introverted style, he invented or popularized much of the hipster jargon which came to be associated with the music.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.



Lester Young Tracks

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Lester Young
These Foolish Things
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These Foolish Things
Teddy Wilson Orchestra, Billie Holiday & Lester Young
Never Be The Same
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Never Be The Same
Piotr Laul (piano) & Alexander Sandler (piano)
Suite for Two Pianos, Op. 6 (1922); Prelude
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Suite for Two Pianos, Op. 6 (1922); Prelude
Count Basie, CARL SMITH, Lester Young, Count Basie, Jimmy Rushing & Jo Jones
Boogie Woogie
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Boogie Woogie
Lester Young
Lester Leaps In
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Lester Leaps In
Lester Young & Oscar Peterson
(Back Home Again In) Indiana
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(Back Home Again In) Indiana
Lester Young
These Foolish Things
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These Foolish Things
Benny Goodman, Buck Clayton, Freddie Green, Jo Jones, Count Basie, Walter Page, Lester Young & Charlie Christian
Lester’s Dream
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Lester’s Dream
Lester Young
Big Eyes Blues
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Big Eyes Blues
Buck Clayton
A Sailboat In The Moonlight
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A Sailboat In The Moonlight
Billie Holiday & Billie Holiday
Me Myself And I
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Me Myself And I
Lester Young
(It Takes) Two To Tango
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(It Takes) Two To Tango
Lester Young
Lester Leaps In
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Lester Leaps In
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