Irma Young

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b. c.1913, Thebedux, Louisiana, USA. Born into a highly musical family, she was encouraged to play the alto saxophone and joined the family band which was led by her father, W.H. Young, and which included…
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b. c.1913, Thebedux, Louisiana, USA. Born into a highly musical family, she was encouraged to play the alto saxophone and joined the family band which was led by her father, W.H. Young, and which included her younger brother, Lee Young, on drums, and her older brother, Lester Young, on tenor saxophone. Her mother also played in the outfit, as did several cousins, and Ben Webster is reputed to have played piano with the band for a time. According to Paul Quinichette, himself a devoted admirer of Lester Young, Irma Young was an exceptionally fine musician and would happily jam with her brother and other jazzmen. In addition to the alto, she also played baritone and soprano saxophones. However, her preference was for none of these instruments and in the 30s she gave them all up to concentrate on dancing. Thereafter, she worked as a dancer and occasional singer until her retirement in the mid-50s. She was still living in California in the early 80s. Her daughter, Martha Young, is a professional pianist.