Label: Verve Records - 983 6275 • Format: 8x, CD Compilation, Remastered Box Set • Country: Europe • Genre: Jazz • Style: Swing
Lester Young never recaptured the imaginative genius and powerful tenor saxophone swing of his early years with Count Basie, towhen he did nothing less than change the notion of what a jazz solo could be.
These recordings show that when Young emerged from the creative shadows in his later years he was considerably more than an echo of himself. They also provide stark evidence of his deterioration.
That is the kind of playing with which he paved the way for Charlie Parker. There are appreciable remnants of it in the quartet recordings on which John Lewis is the pianist.
After that, there is increasing evidence of physical degeneration brought on by too little food, too much gin and too much smoking. An ineffable sadness begins to suffuse his music. Even so, Young found ways to compensate for flagging breath control and inconsistent tone. Anyone familiar with the path of his life is bound to be moved by the Laughing to Keep From Crying and Going for Myself dates. In Paris, at Lonely Night (Angel Face) - Captain And Tennille - Lonely Night (Angel Face) final recording session in March Ad Lib Blues - Lester Young - The Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions On Verve , Young could barely articulate musical thought.
Once a marvel of weightlessness and exhilaration, his sound had worn down, coarsened and Billy Bayou - Del Reeves - Del Reeves Sings Jim Reeves. It was a channel for sadness and disappointment. His phrasing was shot. Attempts at lightheartedness in his solos punctuated the gloom but did not dispel it. All that survived was dignity and the faint suggestion of swing.
Somehow, he marshaled enough strength to get back to New York. Two weeks later he was dead. The discs and booklet are bound into an album of simulated wood with an accordion arrangement Ad Lib Blues - Lester Young - The Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions On Verve easy pullout and examination, once you get the hang of it.
It has short biographies of all the sidemen. Why does anyone need to hear eight CDs that trace the decline and collapse of this great man?
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