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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

Lester Willis Young (1909 -1959),nicknamed "Prez", the jazz tenor saxophonist and clarinettist also played trumpet, violin, and drums. He came to prominence while a member of Count Basie's orchestra and was one of the most influential players of his instrument, playing with a cool tone and using sophisticated harmonies. Young left the Basie band in late 1940 and subsequently led a number of small groups that often included his brother, noted drummer Lee Young, for the next couple of years. He accompanied the singer Billie Holiday in a couple of studio sessions in 1940 and 1941, and also made a small set of recordings with Nat "King" Cole (their first of several collaborations) in June 1942. His studio recordings are relatively sparse during the 1942 to 1943 period, largely due to the American Federation of Musicians' recording ban. In December 1943, Young returned to the Basie fold for a 10-month stint. Young's career after World War II was far more prolific and lucrative than in the pre-war years. He made a significant number of studio recordings under Granz's supervision for his Verve Records label as well, including more trio recordings with Nat King Cole. Young also recorded extensively in the late 1940s for Aladdin Records (1946 to 1947), where he had made the Nat King Cole recordings in 1942, and for Savoy (1944, 1949 and 1950) some sessions included Count Basie on piano. In January 1956 he recorded 2 Granz-produced sessions featuring pianist Teddy Wilson who had led the Billie Holiday recordings with Young in the 1930s, trumpet player Roy Eldridge, trombonist Vic Dickenson, bassist Gene Ramey, and drummer Jo Jones. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, Young had sat in on Count Basie Orchestra gigs from time to time. This excellent new compilation with liner notes by Chris White has excellent sound quality and covers recordings from across the years and does indeed live up to being the essence of Lester Young. Here you will find performances with Oscar Peterson; Billie Holiday; Teddy Wilson; Benny Goodman; Count Basie; The Kansas City Six; Earl Warren; Sammy Price; Buddy Rich and of course the various Lester Young groups. Full liner notes. The total running time is approx 144 minutes.
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on 22 August 2013
I have started expanding on works of individual saxophonists recently, after buying Best of Jazz Sax Vol 1&2. This was then purchased next after reading reviews, and is superb. A brief synopsis of Lester Young's life in the sleeve notes shows who he played with, and a lifestyle which may have attributed to his early and sad death. It's been an interesting learning curve for me and intend to compare styles with his contempories, such as Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster amongst others. Two other fantastic buys are The Best Blue Note Album in the World, [ sounds pompous but is excellent ] and Sidney Bechet The essential Collection.
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on 14 October 2014
This was bought as a present and was much appreciated the quality of the recording was first rate so any Lester Young followers would love it
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on 31 December 2014
Very pleased with my purchase
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on 14 June 2014
Real jazz for the jazz enthusiast a must have album. Add this to your collection and relax, smile, feel cool.
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on 11 June 2015
Not what I thought it was - my fault
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