This release presents the great Lester Young’s complete sessions for the small Aladdin label, which were made right after the saxophonist’s release from prison and dishonourable discharge from the U.S. Army. Althoughlegend has it he was never the same after his experiences in the military, Young’s playing throughout these recordings exceeds even his own high standards.
While Lester’s Army experiences undoubtedly left their mark on the saxophonist, it would be incorrect to state that all of his troubles began at that time. Being subjected to strict treatment (in which racism played an important role) was certainly hard on Lester. However, it is also true that he was a complex person with strong self-destructive impulses. However, his playing here is superb in most cases, and his interaction with other great musicians like Nat King Cole, Dodo Marmarosa, Joe Albany, Argonne Thornton (who later changed his name to Sadik Hakim), Willie Smith, Howard McGhee and his Basie companion Vic Dickenson proves to be very effective. As a bonus to the Aladdin sessions, we have included the other studio session by Lester with Nat King Cole, recorded for Norman Granz for his label Norgran in 1946.
LESTER YOUNG, tenor sax on all tracks
FEATURING: Willie Smith (as), Howard McGhee (tp), Vic Dickenson (tb), Nat King Cole, Joe Albany, Dodo Marmarosa (p), Chuck Wayne, Dave Barbour (g), Red Callender (b), Chico Hamilton, Roy Haynes, Tiny Kahn (d), among others.
Recorded in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, 1942-1947.
Los Angeles, March-April, 1946.
01. Indiana 02. I Can’t Get Started 03. Tea For Two 04. Body And Soul 05. D. B. Blues 06. Lester Blows Again 07. These Foolish Things 08. Jumpin’ At Mesner’s 09. It’s Only A Paper Moon 10. After You’Ve Gone 11. Lover Come Back To Me 12. Jammin’ With Lester 13. You’re Driving Me Crazy 14. New Lester Lears In 15. Lester’s Be Bop Boogie 16. She’s Funny That Way 17. Sunday 18. S. M. Blues 19. Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid 20. No Eyes Blues 21. Sax-O-Be-Bop 22. On The Sunny Side Of The Street 23. One O’clock Jump 24. Jumpin’ At The Woodside
01. Movin’ With Lester 02. Easy Does It 03. Easy Does It (alternate take) 04. I’m Confessin’ 05. Lester Smooths It Out 06. Just Cooling 07. Tea For Two 08. East Of The Sun 09. The Sheik Of Araby 10. Something To Remember You By 11. Untitled Instrumental 12. Please Let Me Forget 13. He Don’t Love Me Anymore 14. Pleasing Man Blues 15. See See Rider 16. It’s Better To Give Than Receive 17. Back To The Land* 18. I Cover The Waterfront* 19. Somebody Loves Me* 20. I’ve Found A NeW bABY* 21. The Man I Love* 22. Peg O’My Heart* 23. I Want To Be Happy* 24. Mean To Me*
Disc Two, 17-24: BONUS TRACKS LESTER YOUNG TRIO: Lester Young (ts), Nat King Cole (p), Buddy Rich (d).