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Lester Leaps in

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Audio CD, October 17, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

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This British compilation concentrates on the early years of Lester Young's career, from 1936 to 1944, when the tenor saxophonist was at his creative height. Most of the material is by small groups from the Count Basie milieu, with Young's soft-toned, inventive horn floating smoothly over the great pulsing rhythms of guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page, and drummer Jo Jones. Young's languid, proto-cool lines are still startling in the context of more aggressive swing-era soloists like trumpeter Buck Clayton and trombonist Dickie Wells. Along with usual landmark performances from the Young canon--like "Lester Leaps In" and "Lady Be Good"--there are several imaginative inclusions. He's beautifully matched with Billie Holiday on three tracks, with his introductory chorus to "This Year's Kisses" a highlight even by Young's exalted standards. "Ad Lib Blues," recorded at an offhand 1940 Benny Goodman session while the sidemen awaited the leader, is another standout. It matches Young with guitarist Charlie Christian, another player with a highly advanced approach, and the influence of Young on Christian's style is especially apparent. Young's unique clarinet work is featured on several tracks at the disc's conclusion, including a marvelous "I Want a Little Girl." The 75-minute playing time and excellent sound restoration make this an ideal introduction to Young's music. --Stuart Broomer

1. Shoe Shine Boy (Swing)
2. Lady Be Good
3. Roseland Shuffle
4. Swinging The Blues
5. Taxi War Dance
6. This Year's Kisses
7. I'll Never Be The Same
8. I've Found A New Baby
9. Lester Leaps In
10. Ad Lib Blues
11. Sometimes I'm Happy
12. Afternoon Of Basie-Ite
13. Lester Leaps Again
14. I Got Rythmn
15. Four O'Clock Drag
16. Jo-Jo
17. I Don't Stand The Ghost Of A Chance With You
18. Blue Lester
19. Jump, Lester, Jump
20. Texas Shuffle
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 17, 1995)
  • Original Release Date: October 13, 1995
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Asv Living Era
  • ASIN: B000001HIX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,495 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Ratcheson VINE VOICE on November 14, 2013
Format: Audio CD
I disagree with the esteemed Mr Hodges on the sound quality. I sorely miss ASV, They were known to me as the #1 company for consistent high quality 78 transfers. While this is clearly not their best work, other than the 1st 3 tracks or so (which sound like they were taken from 78's that were not in the best of shape), the sound is acceptable, & the music is superb.

As a general rule, any ASV release after about 1992 is going to have the best sound available on the market for 78 transfers of the included recordings. As with any generalization, there are exceptions; again imo, while not their best work, this is quite listenable after the first few tracks.

Also, they are NOT pirates; in Europe all music recordings 50 years old & older are legally fair game. Many of these "public domain" companies do terrible work; ASV did superb work.
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Format: Audio CD
Since my youth I have had an ear for roots music, whether I was conscious of that fact or not. The original of that interest first centered on the blues, then early rock and roll and later, with the folk revival of the early 1960's, folk music. I have often wondered about the source of this interest. I am, and have always been a city boy, and an Eastern city boy at that. Nevertheless, over time I have come to appreciate many more forms of roots music than in my youth. The subject of the following review is an example.

I came to an appreciation of Lester Young via Billie Holiday. I have long listened to her lovely, haunting voice when I need a little 'pick me up'. It is only in recent years that I have come to appreciate jazz. Yes, I know Billie is jazz. But for me she always represented the blues. Does anyone really want to get into an academic argument over it. You'll find no taker here. In any case, as it turns out I knew Lester way before I knew his specific work. I always wondered who that saxaphone player behind her was on her best work. Surprise, surprise. Of special note here listen to Lester Leaps in and Jo-Jo, you will not be disappointed.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Hodges on February 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is not the 20-bit Japanese remaster in the critic review, but another UK pirate disk. Not as bad as many of them, but the thin dynamic range and tubby bass detract from this generous helping of fine Prez recordings from '39 to '44 in a variety of settings. Included are recordings with Count Basie (big band and small groups), the great unsung pianist Johnny Guarnari, the better known great pianist Teddy Wilson, Buck Clayton (trumpet), Walter Page (bass), and Jo Jones (drums). The sound quality is only fair, not much remastering effort evident here. 5 stars for the music, 3 for the audio. Sure would like to have that Japanese disk!

UPDATE 4/8/11:

After getting to really hear Lester on the Hep Basie CDs and a treasured Mosaic 4 CD set, I'd have to say the remastering totally fails to present Lester's marvelous tone, vital to the Young experience. If Amazon would let me, I would demote this to one star, because this CD led me to believe Prez was an overrated tenor player. For shame!
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