Lester Young: Ad Lib Blues


Ad Lib Blues


Lester Young (tenor sax)


Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Verve 9884048)

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Lester Young (tenor sax), Oscar Peterson (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Ray Brown (bass), J.C. Heard (drums).

Recorded: New York, November 28, 1952


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

This 1952 session will undoubtedly quiet anyone who criticizes Lester Young’s postwar career. Inspired by Oscar Peterson’s hard-swinging combo, Young sounds as brilliant and confident as ever. His tone is focused and deliciously sweet. His lines wind gracefully around the beat and are presented with expert clarity and logic. Young avoids many of the clichés that characterized his later period, instead stringing together longer, flowing phrases that recall his days in Count Basie’s band. He really digs in during his second solo, building intensity through motivic development and riffing, though never sacrificing the melodic beauty inherent in his playing. A true gem in the Lester Young discography.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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