Uptown's 2013 release Boston 1950 features highlights from a series of concerts the great tenor saxophonist Lester Young gave at Boston's Hi-Hat between May 26 and June 11, 1950. He was performing with trumpeter Jesse Drakes, pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Joe Schulman, and drummer Connie Kay. Lester was at one of his peaks during the late '40s and early '50s and these performances have an appealing blend of lively jump and warmth, qualities that are apparent even underneath the somewhat thin audio quality. Listen beyond those compressed sonics and you'll find thoroughly enjoyable, big-hearted hard bop that's something of a joy to hear. The CD concludes with two tracks from a 1953 date at the Hi-Hat where Young was playing once again with Kay and Drakes but pianist Horace Silver and bassist Franklin Skeete rounded out the band.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine