Lester Young

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1951-1952 Review

by Thom Jurek

Essentially, 1951-1952 has the same material as the Verve issue of the same material of Prez with Oscar Peterson or John Lewis on piano, Gene Ramey on bass, and either J.C. Heard or Jo Jones on drums. The sound on the Chronological Classics label is marginally better, to be sure. These performances were the beginning of the final creative phase of Lester Young's career and they swing beautifully. The contrast of piano styles is interesting to note: while Lewis is clearly a more delicate classicist, his approach swings a bit harder because he's not as interested in pursuing the role of being soloist with Young as much as he is in leading the ensemble.

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