Lester Young - 1936-1948: The President of the Tenor Sax



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Number of Discs
Release Date
Lester Young
CD / Album
Label / Studio
Jazz Legends

Historically, any jazz improviser who came up with something that was truly fresh and innovative was bound to encounter some myopic individuals who insisted that he/she wasn't playing jazz the "correct" way. That happened to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Ornette Coleman, and it certainly happened to the seminal Lester Young -- in the '30s, the Pres was told that his tenor sax playing was too light, too reserved, too soft, too subtle. "Why didn't he play as aggressively as Coleman Hawkins?," the naysayers wanted to know. But there were also plenty of '30s musicians who saw the validity of Young's understated approach, which proved to be highly influential and had a major impact on bop's cool school. Spanning 1936-1948, this fine collection is full of solos that paved the way for Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and other cool-toned tenor men who were inspired by the Pres' use of subtlety and restraint. While Young is the leader on most of the disc's '40s recordings, the '30s material finds him being employed as a sideman by Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and others -- and whether he is a leader or sideman, his playing generally operates from a less-is-more perspective. From "Indiana" to "D.B. Blues" to "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid," this release boasts some of his most essential pre-'50s work -- which isn't to say that 1936-1948: The President of the Tenor Sax is the last word on Young in the '30s and '40s. This is, after all, only a single CD, and a single CD couldn't possibly tell the entire story of the pre-'50s Pres. But for novices who are looking for a 66-minute overview of his innovations during that period, The President of the Tenor Sax is well worth obtaining. ~ Alex Henderson

1) Shoe Shine Boy (02:59)
2) Honeysuckle Rose (03:00)
3) He Ain't Got Rhythm (02:51)
4) I've Found a New Baby (02:40)
5) A Sailboat in the Moonlight (02:51)
6) I Want a Little Girl (02:53)
7) You Can Depend on Me (03:09)
8) Taxi War Dance (02:50)
9) Dickie's Dream (03:08)
10) Tickle Toe (02:41)
11) Broadway (02:56)
12) (Back Home Again In) Indiana (04:54)
13) Just You, Just Me (03:15)
14) Afternoon of a Basie-Ite (03:08)
15) Sometimes I'm Happy (03:05)
16) Lester Leaps Again (04:27)
17) D.B. Blues (03:00)
18) I Want to Be Happy (03:53)
19) Sunday (02:24)
20) Jumpin' With Symphony Sid (03:11)
21) East of the Sun (And West of the Moon) (03:11)

1936-1948: The President of the Tenor Sax
Allegro Corporation
Main Format
Explicit Lyrics
Keyword Index
1936-1948: The President of the Tenor Sax | Lester Young