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Jazz - Released December 12, 2006 | Frémeaux & associés

Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Choc Jazzman

Jazz - Released January 1, 1997 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
One of Lester Young's most memorable post-World War II dates came in 1946, when he entered a Los Angeles studio and formed a trio that employed Nat King Cole on piano and Buddy Rich on drums. In 1994, the results of that classic encounter, which Norman Granz produced for his Clef label, were reissued on the CD Lester Young Trio. Unfortunately, the sound is pretty scratchy, and one wishes that Verve had used digital remastering to reduce the noise. But the performances themselves are outstanding. From the blues "Back to the Land" to the soulful ballad statements of "The Man I Love" and "I Cover the Waterfront," Lester Young Trio explodes the absurd myth that Young's postwar output is of little or no value -- a myth that many jazz critics have been all too happy to promote. The CD's four bonus tracks (which include "Sweet Lorraine," "Rosetta" and "I've Found a New Baby") come from a 1943 or 1944 session that didn't employ Young at all, but rather, was led by tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon and features trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison and Cole, among others. Listeners might ask what that session, which was Gordon's first as a leader, has to do with Young, and the answer is that it illustrates Young's tremendous influence on Gordon. At that point, Gordon still sounded a lot like Young, was still playing swing rather than bebop and had yet to develop a recognizable sound of his own, although by 1945, Gordon would become quite distinctive and influential himself. Highly recommended. ~ Alex Henderson

Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Lone Hill Jazz

Even critics who feel (against the recorded evidence to the contrary) that little of tenor saxophonist Lester Young's postwar playing is at the level of his earlier performances make an exception for this session. Young was clearly inspired by the other musicians (trumpeter Roy Eldridge, trombonist Vic Dickenson, pianist Teddy Wilson, guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Gene Ramey, and drummer Jo Jones), who together made for a very potent band of swing all-stars. The five songs on this album include some memorable renditions of ballads and a fine version of "You Can Depend on Me," but it is the explosive joy of the fiery "Gigantic Blues" that takes honors. This set, a real gem, is highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow

Miscellaneous - Released December 6, 2013 | sagaso


Jazz - Released December 12, 2006 | Frémeaux & associés

The Quintessence New York - Los Angeles: 1938-1947 captures a number of gems recorded by legendary tenor saxophonist Lester Young between 1938 and 1947. These 34 performances include such swing classics as "Cherokee, Pts. 1-2," "Jumpin' with Symphony Sid," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," and "I Can't Get Started." While the Frémeaux & Associés releases are recommended to casual fans, as a first purchase The Kansas City Sessions on GRP would be easier to locate. ~ Al Campbell

Jazz - Released September 14, 1995 | Blue Note Records

Although it has often been written that cool-toned tenor saxophonist Lester Young's experiences with racism in the military during 1944-1945 so scarred him that he never played at the same musical level as he had previously, the music on this essential two-CD reissue disproves that theory. It is true that his attitude toward life was affected and Young became somewhat self-destructive, but his postwar solos rank with the greatest work of his career. This two-fer, which has four selections from 1942 in which Young is heard in a trio with pianist Nat King Cole and bassist Red Callender and a rare 1945 session headed by singer Helen Humes (including a previously unknown instrumental "Riffin' Without Helen"), is mostly taken up with Young's very enjoyable 1945-1948 small-group dates. Highlights include "D.B. Blues," "Jumpin' with Symphony Sid" (which was a minor hit), "Sunday," and "New Lester Leaps In," among many others. Minor errors aside (trumpeter Snooky Young is left out of the personnel listing for the Humes date and Young's final Aladdin session is from 1948, not 1947), this is a well-conceived and brilliant set filled with exciting performances by one of the true greats of jazz. ~ Scott Yanow

Classical - Released May 1, 2005 | Naxos


Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Verve

Defying what has become conventional wisdom, tenor saxophonist Lester Young cut some of his greatest recordings in the 1950s -- that is, when he was reasonably healthy. On this wonderful effort with pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer J.C. Heard, Prez performs definitive versions of "Just You, Just Me" and "Tea for Two," and plays a string of concise but memorable ballad renditions: "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Almost Like Being in Love," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "I'm Confessin'." This is essential music from a jazz legend. [Some reissues augment the original dozen songs with a version of the good-humored "It Takes Two to Tango," which features Young's only recorded vocals, plus a rather unnecessary false start (on "I Can't Get Started," ironically), along with some studio chatter.] ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released October 24, 2000 | Dreyfus Jazz

Basically Young's Savoy Master Takes, Blue Lester finds the svelte tenor innovator on a prime mix of sides from 1944 and 1949. As was the trend of most swing soloists by the mid-'40s, Young heads up a few different extended combos here, featuring the likes of pianist Johnny Guarnieri, trumpeter Jesse Drakes, drummer Cozy Cole, and old Basie bandmates Freddie Green and the Count himself. The numbers with Basie are particularly good, especially "I Don't Stand a Ghost of Chance With You" and "Back Home in Indiana." And for the topper, Young is heard in the company of the entire Basie band (Clyde Hart is on piano, though) for the three tracks that close things out. Not a bad place to start your Lester Young collection. ~ Stephen Cook

Pop - Released February 5, 2018 | Emerald Echoes


Jazz - Released November 24, 2017 | HCR Music


Jazz - Released October 13, 2017 | Underground Inside Records


Jazz - Released October 9, 2017 | golden times


Jazz - Released October 5, 2017 | cappo digital