Count Basie: Shoe Shine Boy


Shoe Shine Boy


Count Basie (piano)


The Lester Young Story (Proper Box 8)

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Count Basie (piano), Lester Young (tenor sax), Walter Page (bass), Jo Jones (drums),

Carl Smith (trumpet)


Composed by Sammy Cahn & Saul Chaplin


Recorded: Chicago, November 9, 1936


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

By convention, Swing Era jazzmen improvised harmonically, grinding through chord progressions as implacably as a train on its tracks, never veering from their predetermined path. Which, to Lester Young, was much too rigid. His frisky, mischievous solos kittenishly skimmed the harmonic cream, leaving him and his listeners poised, as musicologist Scott DeVeaux observes, "to savor the pleasant ambiguities of the moment." Here, in his inaugural recording, Pres juts from the old-fashioned surface of Basie's stride piano like bas relief, projecting his individuality without overshadowing anyone. Lester was part of the group, yet slightly apart from it. The first modernist.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


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