Although serious fans and collectors will have little use for the disc, Ultimate Lester Young is a solid collection of 12 highlights from the saxophonist's Verve recordings as selected by Wayne Shorter. For the curious neophyte, the disc offers a good overview of Young's time at the label, featuring the saxophonist in a variety of different settings, including combos with Harry "Sweets" Edison, Oscar Peterson, Buddy Rich, Nat King Cole, Roy Eldridge, and Count Basie. Certainly, the disc should be thought of as an introduction, not the final word, but on that level it works very well. Among the featured numbers are "Pennies from Heaven" and "Lester Leaps Again."
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine