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The Jazz Giants
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Top Customer Reviews
About 20 years ago a friend of mine found the LP version of this in a thrift store in Los Angeles. When I visited and he played the opening selection I think I'm going to Change My plans, it was one of the most beautiful tasteful and wonderful things I have ever heard. I still go by that. There is something magnificent about that cut that makes me wonder why I don't just play it all day every day, something I did do, once I got a CD player about 12 years ago and got this CD. It is that good.
What works here is that Lester is recorded with a set of SWING musicians who have the same approach to time and variation that he had, although Lester is obviously the master here. In fact, this recording was always one that people like Buck Clayton and other Old Testament Basie survivors pointed to as proof that none of Lester's skills had declined in the 1950s, he just needed a rhythm section like the one here composed of Teddy Wilson (with whom he recorded scores of records for Billie Holiday in the 30s, and his former Basie band mates Freddie Greene and Jo Jones and Gene Ramey who is of the same generation of Southwestern Swing as Lester and Basie.
Vic Dickenson really shines here. Smooth and cremey hot and swinging. It is unfortunate that very few people these days understand the greatness of Little Jazz, Mr. Roy Eldrige whose trumpet provides the necessary contrast to Lester's great sax playing. By 1956 Roy had been appearing with Lester and sometimes with Dickenson for years in Jazz at the Philharmonic's great jams. Listening to these cuts will help you want to hear more of him.
This is Pres at his best. Highly recommended.
If you dig the style of Lester in the best shape since 1943 and add the unsurpassed efforts by Vic Dicenson, Roy Eldridge, Teddy Wilson and Jo Jones. Besides Lester the group plays the best they ever did. Wilson has never svung as hard, Roy has never been so precise and hard svung "in control" as here. You will never hear harder swing as in Gigantic Blues or as beautifull and hartbreaking as I didn't know what time is was.
If I only had one album this would be it..
Still very much in their prime, many of these jazz giants are old musical and personal friends. For instance, Jo Jones (dm) and Freddie Greene (g) were a vital part of Basie's rhythm machine in the hay-day of Young's tenure with the orchestra; Eldridge (tp) and Young both participated in beautiful Teddy Wilson-Billie Holiday recordings, Young made a perfect quartet album with Wilson (p), Ramey (b) and Jones (Pres and Teddy); Jones and Young (at one number joined by Eldridge) were guests on Count Basie rightly famous "At Newport" reunion album (Count Basie at Newport, Roy played with Young on numerous other occasions as well (including JATP encounters and Young's swan song "Laughin' to keep from cryin'" ( Laughin' to Keep from Cryin') ...
Lester Young had some of his peaks in the 50s (check out also his work with Oscar Peterson from the period - With the Oscar Peterson Trio, particularly when surrounded by the likeminded jazz giants of the previous era and Vic Dickenson is another reason to get this gem: he plays really beautifully throughout this fantastic album... If you're into hot and gentle mainstream, into swing, Lester Young, Roy Eldridge, Vic Dickenson...YOU MUST HAVE THIS!
Why did I wait so long to buy it, I keep asking myself in disbelief. Lyrical and ballad-oriented component of this album prevails and, since these artists have beautiful sound, this will make this album quite accessible to audiences who otherwise don't necessarily concentrate on jazz (for instance to the Diana Krall and Norah Jones crowd).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
LESTER YOUNG embodies restraint and suggest the melody.TO all that say LESTER YOUNG lost his touch in his later years this album refutes this.Published 8 months ago by ROBERT GREENE
No better album. Rates right up there with Paul Desmond. I listen EVERY night. What a mood soother ! Buy it.Published on March 21, 2014 by Dale L. Burns
I don't know everything but I know I enjoy the heck out of this album.
I've listened to it several time because it's just so listenable. Read more
This album is excellent. I am the type where my life REQUIRES a soundtrack that I am constantly making and this plays a regular part.Published on August 23, 2013 by jessie
My husband is really the jazz buff. This album was one he did not have and he has really enjoyed it.Published on May 23, 2013 by B. T. Eason
I am going to try to refrain from gushing about Lester Young and those who know me will understand why: I would wind up ignoring the other amazing musicians who made this album so... Read morePublished on May 22, 2012 by Mike Tarrani
Lester indeed was a character & had his own vocabulary. "Serve me up another helping" was a phrase used by Pres according to George Wein when he was evaluating Wein's piano... Read morePublished on March 4, 2012 by Frank Wilner
They didn't call him the President for nothing This recording is late in the game for Lester,but he is still in there swingin'. Read morePublished on June 8, 2009 by Michael Palermo