The idea of reissuing all of Lester Young's Columbia recordings on a series of five comprehensive two-LP sets is good in theory, until one realizes that the tenor did not lead any recording sessions for the label. These two-fers instead consist of all of Young's sideman appearances for Columbia on which he solos or is prominent in the ensembles. Vol. 1 starts off featuring Young with the Jones-Smith Inc. (Prez's recording debut) on four selections plus an alternate of "Shoe Shine Boy." This quintet was actually taken from the Count Basie Orchestra and has a couple of Young's greatest solos, particularly his statement on "Lady Be Good." The remainder of the first volume features Young with Billie Holiday and on two instrumental versions of "I've Found a New Baby" with Teddy Wilson's Orchestra. This set offers the rare alternate takes of "Mean to Me," "Me, Myself and I," and "Without Your Love."
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