BLUE LESTER, a 15-track sampler of Lester Young's early recordings for Savoy, is an ideal introduction to the saxophone legend. Understated, lyrical, and possessed of a sly, nimble musical imagination, Young had a sinuous, laid-back sound with which he pioneered the idea of playing "cool" in jazz, launching--in effect--a stylistic revolution. Those qualities are abundant on BLUE LESTER, which features a host of Young originals (including the slinky title track, and the finger-popping "Jump, Lester, Jump"), and a smoothly swinging take on the chestnut "Indiana."
Young is presented here in a quintet (which includes pianist Count Basie and guitarist Freddie Green), a sextet (featuring pianist Junior Mance and drummer Roy Haynes), and two orchestras (which offer a nice, punchy counterpoint to Young's low-slung style). The high resolution digital transfers should please Young collectors and jazz purists.