Lester Young: Blues 'n' Bells (Take 3)


Blues 'n' Bells (Take 3)


Lester Young (tenor sax)


The Complete Savoy Recordings (Savoy SJL 2202)

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Lester Young (tenor sax), Roy Haynes (drums),

Jesse Drakes (trumpet), Jerry Elliot (trombone), Junior Mance (piano), Leroy Jackson (bass)


Composed by Lester Young


Recorded: New York, June 28, 1949


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

After beginning his New York professional career with a 2-year stint in Luis Russell's orchestra (1945-'46), Roy Haynes joined Lester Young in 1947. The next two years would serve as an ultimate education and period of stylistic transformation for the 24-year-old drummer. Early on, Haynes swung consistently, tastefully, and largely unobtrusively, as per Pres's request. As the run progressed, however, as this June '49 session reveals, many of Haynes's trademark bebop bombs and propulsive, offbeat rhythmic phrases had been developed and gently incorporated into the Lester Young group.

Note the comping fill Haynes plays behind Pres from 00:43-00:46. It begins as a common rhythmic phrase, but where one expects the run to end with a bass drum on the "and" of beat 4, instead continues to a barline-blurring additional bass drum on the "and" of beat 1 of the next measure. Also note the next fill between 00:48 and 00:50, where Roy plays a double-time fill that startlingly ends one full beat before the next section begins responding to his previous fill but actually creating more tension in the process! These two connected musical moves exemplify the aforementioned offbeat rhythmic phrases that have come to define Haynes's comping style.

As to Pres himself, while sessions from this period yield uneven levels of improvisational sharpness, his lines here are thoughtful and inspired. Check out the second and third runs through the blues form (00:17-00:49) for a textbook example of logical, beautiful solo development.

Reviewer: Eric Novod

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