Lester Young

1946, Vol. 8

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Tenor saxophonist Lester Young is heard in three distinctly different settings during the first few months of 1946 on this eighth volume of his complete works as presented by the Masters of Jazz label in 1998. "Oh, Lady Be Good" and the long version of "After You've Gone" come from a Jazz at the Philharmonic blowout that took place on January 28, 1946, at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA. Although Pres sounded marvelous, the highlight from that entire concert is still and always will be Charlie Parker's solo on "Oh, Lady Be Good"; a few years later Eddie Jefferson set words to it and called it "Disappointed." Tracks three, four, five, and six come from an Aladdin session combining the minds of Young, Howard McGhee, Willie Smith, and Vic Dickenson. The tastiest offering from this date is Pres' poetically reconfigured rendition of "It's Only a Paper Moon." The remaining tracks on this wonderful compilation come from the Lester Young Trio session that involved pianist Nat King Cole and drummer Buddy Rich. The intimacy that characterizes this music is nothing short of magical. It is particularly wonderful during the sax/piano duet on "Peg o' My Heart," which was recorded while Buddy Rich was out getting a pizza. Highly recommended as an unforgettable core sample of Lester Young's artistic versatility, this collection paints a colorful portrait of a gifted improviser.

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