By Dave Gelly
Publication Date: October 18, 2007
Lester younger used to be one of many nice jazz masters, and his impression at the process the artwork shape was once profound. He essentially replaced the best way the saxophone used to be played--his lengthy, flowing strains introduced new degrees of expressiveness and subtlety to the jazz language, atmosphere the normal for all smooth players.
In Being Prez, well known British critic Dave Gelly follows Lester younger via his lifestyles in a swiftly altering international, exhibiting how the tune of this highly delicate guy was once formed by way of his studies. The reader meets a sophisticated, weak, light person who used to be stated in his father's touring carnival band. His early occupation was once spent within the nightclubs and dancehalls of Kansas urban and the Southwest, and he made his landmark recording debut on the height of the Swing period. yet on the peak of his powers, he was once drafted into the USA military, the place racism and his personal unworldliness landed him in army legal. Following those occasions, younger grew more and more withdrawn and suspicious, adjustments in his personality mirrored within the darkening temper of his track. Gelly, himself a jazz saxophonist, examines a lot of Young's vintage recordings in illuminating element. He finds how as a saxophonist--and as significant contributor to the count number Basie band--Young created a robust own voice, a funky modernism, and a brand new rhythmic flexibility within the freely dancing rhythms of 4-beat swing.
With his sax jutting oddly to 1 facet, his strange indirect use of language, and his targeted musical rapport with Billie vacation (who famously nicknamed him "Prez"), Lester younger has turn into an icon and a cult determine. This remarkable biography illuminates the existence and paintings of this large of jazz.
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Extra info for Being Prez: The Life and Music of Lester Young (Popular Music History): The Life and Music of Lester Young (Popular Music History)
The hours were quite unbelievable by modern standards: 9pm to 5am, consisting of four floorshows of an hour’s duration each, with dancing in between. For this they were paid $18 a week each (Basie got $21), plus tips. After work on Sundays, musicians would get together for what they called a ‘Spook Breakfast’ and, thus refreshed, would proceed to the delights of a jam session. Lester had finally landed in the perfect environment. A nine-piece band in which everyone shares the same background and speaks the same musical language can do wonders, especially if it works the kind of hours that Basie’s Barons of Rhythm were used to.
During his first few days, when not rehearsing or undergoing re-education at the hands of Leora Henderson, he would wander abroad in search of a jam session. On one of these nights he encountered Billie Holiday, a nineteen-year-old singer virtually unknown outside Harlem. Thus began an extraordinary relationship which would last intermittently until the end of their lives, and which would cause their names to be forever linked. Everyone who knew them at the time, and has spoken about the matter subsequently, agrees on one thing: the relationship was entirely platonic.
11 The word quickly got about that there was a shy, dreamy young man drifting around among the territory bands whose style and sound on the tenor were quite unlike anyone else’s, and who was scaring all the other saxophone players to death. Another saxophonist, Buddy Tate, remembered meeting Lester when the family band had passed through his home town of Sherman, Texas. They had both been teenagers at the time, but Tate realized that this must now be the man all the fuss was about, and was eager to hear for himself.