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The "Kansas City" Sessions

Lester YoungAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 22 Songs, 1997 $11.49  
Audio CD, 1997 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Way Down Yonder In New OrleansLester Young 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Way Down Yonder In New OrleansLester Young 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Countless BluesLester Young 3:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Countless BluesLester Young 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Them There EyesLester Young 2:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Them There EyesLester Young 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. I Want A Little GirlLester Young 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. I Want A Little GirlLester Young 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Pagin' The DevilLester Young 2:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Pagin' The DevilLester Young 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Three Little WordsLester Young 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Three Little WordsLester Young 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Jo JoLester Young 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. I Got RhythmLester Young 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. I Got RhythmLester Young 3:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. I Got RhythmLester Young 3:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Four O'Clock DragLester Young 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Four O'Clock DragLester Young 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Laughing At LifeKansas City Five 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Good Morning BluesKansas City Five 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. I Know That You KnowKansas City Five 3:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Love Me Or Leave MeKansas City Five 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 28, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Commodore
  • ASIN: B0000001NN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,927 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Jazz Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 28-JAN-1997

Though known as the "Kansas City sessions," Milt Gabler taped these proceedings in New York City for his Commodore label. The musicians, however, represented the soul of the Kansas City influx. The first 10 tracks--five tunes with one alternate each--come from September 1938 and feature a group drawn from the Count Basie Orchestra's ranks. It's the great Basie rhythm section of bassist Walter Page, drummer Jo Jones, and rhythm guitarist Freddie Green (who also sings on "Them There Eyes"), with a frontline of Lester Young, trumpeter Buck Clayton, and Eddie Durham, who's heard far more prominently on electric guitar than trombone. A master of half-valve smears, Clayton sounds superb, whether elegantly muted or expressively open, but it's Young who will rivet a listener's attention, both on tenor sax or playing clarinet with a strikingly original sound and conception.

Young's clarinet virtually defines the sonority of later "cool" alto saxophonists like Lee Konitz and Paul Desmond, and the blend with the transparent textures of the two guitars is particularly advanced. The second session is by a very different Kansas City Six from 1944, with Young and Jones the only returning members. It's a far more conventional setting, with trumpeter Bill Coleman and trombonist Dicky Wells competing in brashness and pianist Joe Bushkin in place of the guitars. The sometimes aggressive cast to the band only highlights Young's superbly relaxed phrasing. His opening solos on the three takes of "I Got Rhythm" are textbook example of relaxed swing, and their inspiration to Wells is apparent in his solos that follow. The CD concludes with four tracks by the Kansas City Five from March 1938, the earliest session here. It's the first Kansas City Six without Young present, still well worth hearing for the superb play of Clayton, Durham, and the rhythm section. --Stuart Broomer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always Young June 3, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Who could ask for better than good recordings from mature, consummate professionals at (or near) the height of their powers? Young, Clayton, et al. had been around more than one block more than a few times by 1938, when the earlier session was recorded, and a few more by 1944, when the later session was recorded. All are exceptional here, especially Clayton's trumpet work and Eddie Durham's electric guitar work. Some say Lester lost his fire after his unpleasant army experience. His earlier stuff is undoubtedly livelier, even the slow blues, but the later recordings, which seem so port-wine-and-reefer slurred, will simply break your heart. All of the recordings here are ample evidence that Young always played what he felt, and that no matter how it came out, there was greatness in it. High points are "Countless Blues," "Pagin' the Devil #2," "Three Little Words," and "Good Mornin' Blues."
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magical moments July 9, 2001
Format:Audio CD
These are superb recordings by the master musician Lester Young and his Kansas City friends. When Young plays the blues on clarinet he reminds me so much of Billy Holliday - the transition from each note to the next is so full of musical emotion that it gets right inside my soul. The 1938 recordings with the clarinet are a high point in all Jazz - along with the Hot Fives and Sevens, Johnny Hodges small groups from 1939-40 etc. Young's beautiful sensitivity is displayed, along with the members of the group who afford Young the best support one could ask for. The 1944 sessions with Young on Tenor are great and complement the earlier sessions perfectly. I would heartily recommend this CD to any human being.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History on CD, fun, joy what music is for Now and Then February 13, 2004
Format:Audio CD
This is a historic session, I am talking about the 1938 set. One thing here is that this about the first, if not the first Jazz recording, and among the first ever recordings to feature an electric 6 string standard guitar, or an electric guitar as we say in English (all that other stuff is just for certain record keepers i dialog with who claim wanna county amplified Hawaiian guitars). This is loose and mellow, a jam session of the finest kind, made for a record shop label that back in that day was only going to be discovered by the hippest of the hip, musicians and their true lovers.
Lester is superb and more understated and relaxed than on Basie tracks from the same period. The clarinet playing is a gem. Lester complained that Basie tried to minimize clarinet playing by himself and Herschel Evans, the band's soloists on the sax, although they trade clarinet solos on some of the Decca Sides, Jumpin' at the Woodside and Texas Shuffle, I think.
Lester played clarinet wonderfully all the way to his clarinet blues on his last Verve session when he was too weak to lift the tenor.
Getting back to this CD, what is also outstanding here is the rhythm. We have the Basie's All-American rhythm session without Basie for contractual reasons--Freddie Green, Joe Jones, and the great Walter Page. They are augmented here and there by Eddie Durham's electric guitar that comes back into rhythm mode when he is not soloing. (Eddie had been playing solos on a National steel guitar in the Moten, Lunceford, and Basie bands until he went electric. He passed the idea of playing electric lead guitar on to a young former drummer he had known in Oklahoma and convinced to switch to guitar. The man's name was Charlie Christian!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eddie Durham is not "out of place"... August 24, 2007
Format:Audio CD
To the reviewer below who thought Durham's guitar "work" (as he put it) was out of place, I say step back and listen carefully. Durham was working in a new medium, and carefully chose his notes. In fact, I would say that his playing is some of the best of that era: tasteful, emotional, and completely aware of the importance of every individual note. Hmmm, kind of sounds like Young himself, huh?

Anyway, this is a great record, not just for the historical significance, but just because it is a great swinging record. I can't get enough of it.

p.s. BTW, Mr. Thomas, Wanna County was a double bass player. Bob Dunn, the lap steel guitar player, was the first to record an amplified instrument. The first to amplify an instrument, as far as I can determine, was Durham.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not Prez's best February 25, 2006
Format:Audio CD
historically important, but not necessarily my favorite; Lester Young recorded much greater music, both with Basie and on his own, later..Buck Clayton is in good form; Jo Jones sounds great, it's good to be reminded how great Walter Page could be; the two takes of

"Pagin' the Devil" are extraordinary. And Freddie Green, of all people, sings, and very nicely. but Eddie Durham's trombone playing is annoying, frankly; though, again, it's extraordinary to hear Durham's electric guitar work, before Charlie Christian got rolling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Them There Gems October 1, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I've had this CD over a month now. The fun part is, I still can't decide which take of "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" I like better. I hope I never do figure it out. Each version has something the other doesn't. Buck Clayton and Lester Young are amazing throughout - but the high point for me is take #2 of "Them There Eyes" - a joyous, exuberant, finger snapping gem that swings you into places you've never been. Buck and Lester's improvisational talents are primal, heady and exciting. Great early electric guitar by Eddie Durham and rare vocal by pure voiced Freddie Green make this small group session sizzle-with thrilling solo's from all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Kansas City Sessions
I would echo what most of the other reviews have said. I have to disagree strongly with the reviewer who criticizes Eddie Durham. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mak I. Jamison
5.0 out of 5 stars lester young at his very best
this cd shows how sentisive and dynamic LY is. the many alternative takes shows how different he could perform the samwe melody, using minimal changes in intonation and so on
Published on April 19, 2011 by Niels Jørn Hansen
4.0 out of 5 stars OK - now I've heard the extra material- what a difference
In my last review on this LP (not CD), I mentioned that there were extra tracks on the CD that Commodore left out of the LP. What a crime. Read more
Published on September 3, 2003 by "douglasnegley"
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm fascinated with these 5-star ratings here
Hey - there are great moments here - such as Lester playing clarinet, and playing the hell out of it: BUT BUYER BEWARE... Read more
Published on August 30, 2003 by "douglasnegley"
5.0 out of 5 stars Quickly proves that L.Y. was one of the Greats...
A friend sent this to me as a gift recently. I own a lot of jazz, but no Lester Young CD's until this one. Read more
Published on June 29, 2003 by William E. Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars I only have eyes...
Lester's tenor solos on "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" and "Them There Eyes" are amongst the handful of greatest musical passages I've ever heard - in ANY... Read more
Published on August 5, 2001 by Lefty O'doul
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny
These recordings are one of the keystones of the Lester Young discography and were for a long time only available on rather poorly pressed vinyl cutout albums. Read more
Published on February 13, 2001 by bruce horner
5.0 out of 5 stars Lester And Buck in '44
Lester Young's sax is like slick ice and Buck Clayton's trumpet is pure fire. Writers often cr- iticize Lester's postwar playing and now you can hear it and contrast it with the... Read more
Published on January 16, 2001
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