Lester Young

Lester Young/Charlie Christian (1939-1940)

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This LP from the collectors' label Jazz Archives starts out with rare radio appearances by the Count Basie Orchestra during 1939-40; star soloists include the great tenor-saxophonist Lester Young, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison and Basie himself. The Benny Goodman Sextet of 1939 (featuring Lionel Hampton and Charlie Christian, the pioneer of the electric guitar) is heard on three numbers and then comes five selections from a very special studio session. In late 1940 Benny Goodman was toying with the idea of breaking up his big band and touring with an octet comprised of these all-stars: Clayton, Young, Basie, Christian, rhythm guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page and drummer Jo Jones. They actually got together for one recording date although the performances were not released until decades later. The results, heard on the latter half of this Lp, are as brilliant as one might hope.