Lester Young: Lester Leaps In (1939)


Lester Leaps In


Count Basie (featuring Lester Young)


Ken Burns Jazz: Lester Young (Verve 549082)

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Count Basie (piano), Lester Young (tenor sax), Buck Clayton (trumpet), Dicky Wells (trombone), Freddie Green (guitar), Walter Page (bass), Jo Jones (drums).

Recorded: New York, September 5, 1939


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Lester Young was the major influence on a generation of tenor saxophonists who preferred his relatively light, pure tone and agile swing to the husky heaviness of the once-dominant Coleman Hawkins. Even some alto players, such as Lee Konitz, Paul Desmond and Art Pepper, reflected Young’s musical values. Recorded with a small band extracted from the Count Basie Orchestra, “Lester Leaps In,” an up-tempo line over “I Got Rhythm” harmonies, was among the performances that so inspired his followers. Many of Young’s phrases heard here have shown up in the improvisations of saxophonists ever since.

Reviewer: David Franklin


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