Lester Young: I Want To Be Happy

Many critics and writers still insist that Lester Young’s artistry was in decline when he was dishonorably discharged from the Army in December 1945. “I Want to Be Happy” begs to differ. From the bright introductory phrase of his first solo, it’s clear that Prez still has spring in his step and joy in his phrasing. The only difference to speak of is a breathier tone and a slightly lower pitch—probably more attributable to his use of a plastic reed than to a broken spirit—and they don’t stop him from swinging harder than ever before, especially on his second (closing) solo. No doubt he’s helped along by the impeccable timing of Cole’s piano and the unswerving brilliance of Rich’s drums. Despite his revolution in the ‘30s, it was this postwar period that would be Young’s most successful, and “I Want to Be Happy” shows why.

August 16, 2009 · 0 comments


Royce Campbell: I Want to Be Happy

Get Happy was the final recording of music educator and swing violinist Joe Kennedy. The CD's "happy" theme was conceived by producer/guitarist Campbell because he believed uplifting music of this type best represented what Kennedy's playing had always been about. Campbell also felt that Kennedy's career had been under-recorded. When Kennedy passed away shortly after these sessions, the CD became both a historical document and a tribute to him.

This track is a departure from the basic bow-to-string swing violin. Kennedy, Campbell and Langosch surely swing on this lighthearted number. But Kennedy's playing is all pizzicato. The swing accents are found in his note-bending and sustain. There is only so much of that you can get from plucking away on such short strings. But if you can do it the way he did, you could do anything and probably teach it pretty good too.

April 08, 2008 · 0 comments


Stan Getz: I Want to Be Happy

Stan Getz formed a working relationship with Oscar Peterson during his participation in Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) tours, and their meeting for this record date was only natural. Peterson’s drummer-less trio format (which was derived from the classic Nat “King” Cole trio) provided the unique opportunity to showcase Getz’ warm-toned appeal. The saxophonist’s abilities to spin out endless variations of dynamically charged, almost verbal phrases continue to provide an amazing listening experience today. The group swings easy and breathes new light into this evergreen.

November 07, 2007 · 0 comments


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