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Lester Young


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Lester Willis Young (August 27, 1909 – March 15, 1959), nicknamed “Pres” or “Prez”, was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and sometime clarinetist.
Coming to prominence while a member of Count Basie’s orchestra, Young was one of the most influential players on his instrument. In contrast to many of his hard-driving peers, Young played with a relaxed, cool tone and used sophisticated harmonies, using “a free-floating style, wheeling and diving like a gull, banking with low, funky riffs that pleased dancers and listeners alike”.

Famous for his hip, introverted style, he invented or popularized much of the hipster jargon which came to be associated with the music.

Lester Young was born in Woodville, Mississippi, and grew up in a musical family. His father, Willis Handy Young, was a respected teacher, his brother Lee Young was a drummer, and several other relatives played music professionally. His family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, when Lester was an infant and later to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although at a very young age Young did not initially know his father, he learned that his father was a musician. Later Willis taught his son to play the trumpet, violin, and drums in addition to the saxophone.
Lester Young played in his family’s band, known as the Young Family Band, in both the vaudeville and carnival circuits. He left the family band in 1927 at the age of 18 because he refused to tour in the Southern United States, where Jim Crow laws were in effect and racial segregation was required in public facilities.


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  • PeaceloveK

    King of tenor - saxophone ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    26 Mar 6:58pm Reply
  • PeaceloveK

    its a great pleasure to hear him

    26 Mar 5:33pm Reply
  • PeaceloveK

    ♥ ♥ Love.

    26 Mar 5:12pm Reply
  • PeaceloveK

    I like his sound.

    19 Mar 5:54pm Reply
  • Radioakhar

    happy birthday

    28 Aug 2013 Reply
  • GeneralHoden

    one of the smoothest

    15 Feb 2013 Reply
  • Sapegas

    awesome tenor sax guy, never heard him before. This error has been fixed yestarday. Listening to him all day long now :)

    12 Aug 2012 Reply
  • RaulLipschitz

    the Keynote recordings are just.....perfect music.

    23 May 2012 Reply
  • mtw900

    Happy President's Day!

    21 Feb 2012 Reply
  • bernarducs

    I can to live just with his music.

    19 Nov 2011 Reply
  • Druid66

    Prez was one of the indelible ones -- watch "Round Midnight" to see a version of him.

    6 Aug 2011 Reply
  • strajnic


    31 Mar 2011 Reply
  • ginandjukes

    @ Mezzanine - Pick up some of his early stuff. I'd suggest either the Commodore or Keynote recordings. Many argue he was a different (better?) player before his 50s Verve (Norgran, Clef) recordings.

    3 Feb 2011 Reply
  • Mezzanine_

    i'd like a sugestion, i have only one cd by Prez, which is Prez and Teddy Wilson Quartet, which should i get next? I've listened to this one over and over again

    3 Jan 2011 Reply
  • barryvs


    18 Dec 2010 Reply
  • kevnik

    Glory be to the Prez for all of his wonders

    14 Dec 2010 Reply
  • juanchopepe2

    the prez have stylish...

    9 Nov 2010 Reply
  • mgarutti

    A Sax Wizard

    16 Oct 2010 Reply
  • eldedobud

    Glad I found this station. Just may sell my 3 television sets. Great stuff but I've got to leave ya. Night all.

    6 Jul 2010 Reply
  • eldedobud

    eldedo: how is it possible that the kids don't recognize the beauty & workmanship of this music?

    6 Jul 2010 Reply
  • All 47 shouts

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