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The Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions on Verve [#1]

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
The musical debate concerning Lester Young's mid-to-late-period playing shows little sign of diminishing as the 20th century comes to a speedy close. Did the great tenor saxophonist begin slipping into an unalterable decline during this time or did he consciously alter his style to fit evolving musical concepts? The answer -- different of course for each individual listener-- can only be gleaned from Young's late-1940s through late-1950s recordings, the vast majority of which are contained on this eight-CD box set.
What's undeniable, to anyone who loves the darker tone and more deliberate, if still supremely expressive, improvising...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
The musical debate concerning Lester Young's mid-to-late-period playing shows little sign of diminishing as the 20th century comes to a speedy close. Did the great tenor saxophonist begin slipping into an unalterable decline during this time or did he consciously alter his style to fit evolving musical concepts? The answer -- different of course for each individual listener-- can only be gleaned from Young's late-1940s through late-1950s recordings, the vast majority of which are contained on this eight-CD box set.
What's undeniable, to anyone who loves the darker tone and more deliberate, if still supremely expressive, improvising of Young in the final 13 years of his life, is the sheer amount of beauty that permeates his Verve recordings. Whether communing in an intimate trio with pianist Nat King Cole and drummer Buddy Rich in 1946, or swinging with heavyweights like trumpeter Roy Eldridge, pianist Teddy Wilson, drummer Jo Jones, and trombonist Vic Dickenson ten years later, Young displays an unmatched sense of improvisational form, floating-on-air rhythm, and tonal beauty. Throughout these many hours of music one is caught by the individual wit and poetry of Young's playing, be it on blues or standard tunes. And when matched with sympathetic players including Jo Jones and pianist John Lewis, Young simply levitates. Thirteen unreleased and, as a special treat, the historic interviews of Francois Postif and Chris Albertson boost this box set's already essential worth.
So, is Verve-era Young as memorable as 1930s Swing-era Young? Luxuriate in this box and make up your own mind -- it's all golden.
All Music Guide - Alex Henderson
All too often, jazz critics have promoted the myth that Lester Young's playing went way downhill after World War II -- that the seminal tenor man was so emotionally wounded by the racism he suffered in the military in 1944-1945 that he could no longer play as well as he had in the '30s and early '40s. To be sure, Young went through hell in the military, and his painful experiences took their toll in the form of alcohol abuse, severe depression, and various health problems. But despite Young's mental decline, he was still a fantastic soloist. This eight-CD set, which gathers most of the studio recordings that he made for Norman Granz's Clef, Norgran, and Verve labels from 1946-1959, underscores the fact that much of his postwar output was superb. At its worst, this collection is at least decent, but the Pres truly excels on sessions with Nat "King" Cole and Buddy Rich in 1946, Oscar Peterson and Barney Kessel in 1952, Roy Eldridge and Teddy Wilson in 1956, and Harry "Sweets" Edison in 1957. Disc 8 contains two recorded interviews with the saxman -- one conducted by Chris Albertson in 1958 for WCAU radio in Philadelphia, the other by French jazz enthusiast Francois Postif in Paris on February 6, 1959 only five or six weeks before Young's death on March 15 of that year. The contrast between the fascinating interviews is striking; in Philly, Young is polite and soft-spoken, whereas in Paris, the effects of the alcohol are hard to miss. Sounding intoxicated and using profanity liberally, Young candidly tells Postif about everything from his experiences with racism to his associations with Billie Holiday and Count Basie. But as much as the set has going for it, The Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions on Verve isn't for novices, casual listeners, or those who are budget-minded Verve's suggested retail price in the U.S. was $144. Collectors are the ones who will find this CD to be a musical feast.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/19/1999
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • UPC: 731454708722
  • Catalog Number: 547087

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Back to the Land (3:58)
  2. 2 I Cover the Waterfront (3:51)
  3. 3 I Cover the Waterfront (4:04)
  4. 4 Somebody Loves Me (3:54)
  5. 5 I've Found a New Baby (4:05)
  6. 6 The Man I Love (4:51)
  7. 7 Peg o' My Heart (4:05)
  8. 8 I Want to Be Happy (3:58)
  9. 9 Mean to Me (4:13)
  10. 10 Too Marvelous for Words (3:00)
  11. 11 Too Marvelous for Words (3:02)
  12. 12 'Deed I Do (3:17)
  13. 13 Encore (3:09)
  14. 14 Polka Dots and Moonbeams (3:41)
  15. 15 Up 'n' Adam (3:50)
  16. 16 Three Little Words (3:19)
  17. 17 Count Every Star (3:01)
  18. 18 Count Every Star (3:12)
  19. 19 It All Depends on You (3:23)
  20. 20 Neenah (3:09)
  21. 21 Neenah (2:18)
  22. 22 Neenah (3:26)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Jeepers Creepers (3:07)
  2. 2 Thou Swell (2:55)
  3. 3 Thou Swell (2:57)
  4. 4 September in the Rain (3:08)
  5. 5 UnderCover Girl Blues (2:44)
  6. 6 Frenesi (3:01)
  7. 7 Pete's Cafe (3:36)
  8. 8 Little Pee Blues (2:42)
  9. 9 A Foggy Day (2:52)
  10. 10 In a Little Spanish Town (3:14)
  11. 11 Let's Fall in Love (2:57)
  12. 12 Down 'n' Adam (2:57)
  13. 13 Lester Swings (2:33)
  14. 14 Slow Motion Blues (2:58)
  15. 15 Ad Lib Blues (5:52)
  16. 16 Just You, Just Me (7:39)
  17. 17 Tea for Two (7:45)
  18. 18 (Back Home Again In) Indiana (7:04)
  19. 19 These Foolish Things (3:27)
  20. 20 I Can't Get Started (4:30)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Stardust (3:38)
  2. 2 (It Takes) Two to Tango (6:06)
  3. 3 On the Sunny Side of the Street (3:27)
  4. 4 Almost Like Being in Love (3:34)
  5. 5 I Can't Give You Anything But Love (3:23)
  6. 6 There Will Never Be Another You (3:29)
  7. 7 I'm Confessin' (That I Love You) (3:44)
  8. 8 Willow Weep for Me (3:09)
  9. 9 This Can't Be Love (3:24)
  10. 10 Can't We Be Friends? (3:10)
  11. 11 Tenderly (3:29)
  12. 12 New D.B. Blues (3:21)
  13. 13 Jumpin' at the Woodside (3:04)
  14. 14 I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me (3:13)
  15. 15 Oh, Lady Be Good (3:30)
  16. 16 Another Mambo (3:39)
  17. 17 Come Rain or Come Shine (3:12)
  18. 18 Rose Room (4:11)
  19. 19 Somebody Loves Me (4:58)
  20. 20 Touch Me Again (5:17)
  21. 21 It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (4:30)
Disc 4
  1. 1 I'm in the Mood for Love (3:32)
  2. 2 Big Top Blues (4:49)
  3. 3 Mean to Me (7:39)
  4. 4 That's All (4:40)
  5. 5 That's All (4:44)
  6. 6 Red Boy Blues (5:33)
  7. 7 Pennies from Heaven (5:24)
  8. 8 She's Funny That Way (3:28)
  9. 9 She's Funny That Way (8:52)
  10. 10 One O'Clock Jump (5:37)
  11. 11 It's the Talk of the Town (6:32)
  12. 12 I've Found a New Baby (6:01)
  13. 13 I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan (9:25)
Disc 5
  1. 1 I Didn't Know What Time It Was (10:01)
  2. 2 Gigantic Blues (6:50)
  3. 3 This Year's Kisses (6:45)
  4. 4 You Can Depend on Me (9:03)
  5. 5 Pres Returns (6:22)
  6. 6 Prisoner of Love (7:38)
  7. 7 Taking a Chance on Love (5:09)
  8. 8 All of Me (5:08)
  9. 9 Louise (5:16)
  10. 10 Love Is Here to Stay (6:28)
  11. 11 Love Me or Leave Me (6:46)
Disc 6
  1. 1 St. Tropez (7:28)
  2. 2 St. Tropez (10:38)
  3. 3 Flic (6:31)
  4. 4 Ballad Medley: A Ghost of Chance (5:52)
  5. 5 Love Is Here to Stay (5:53)
  6. 6 Sunday (5:39)
  7. 7 Perdido (6:37)
  8. 8 Waldorf Blues (6:53)
  9. 9 Waldorf Blues (8:36)
  10. 10 Sunday (7:02)
  11. 11 You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me (7:40)
Disc 7
  1. 1 You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me (5:28)
  2. 2 Romping (11:41)
  3. 3 Gypsy in My Soul (4:13)
  4. 4 Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone (6:01)
  5. 5 They Can't Take That Away from Me (6:00)
  6. 6 Salute to Benny (8:32)
  7. 7 Ballad Medley: The Very Thought of You/I Want a Little Girl (6:36)
  8. 8 Mean to Me (7:00)
  9. 9 I Didn't Know What Time It Was (4:19)
  10. 10 Oh, Lady Be Good (3:35)
  11. 11 Almost Like Being in Love (3:59)
  12. 12 Three Little Words (4:17)
  13. 13 I Cover the Waterfront (3:47)
  14. 14 I Can't Get Started (3:09)
Disc 8
  1. 1 (Back Home Again In) Indiana (2:46)
  2. 2 Pennies from Heaven (3:19)
  3. 3 New D.B. Blues (3:13)
  4. 4 Lullaby of Birdland (3:42)
  5. 5 There Will Never Be Another You (3:37)
  6. 6 Tea for Two (3:38)
  7. 7 Early Life (3:47)
  8. 8 After New Orleans (1:54)
  9. 9 Pres's Instruments (5:54)
  10. 10 Count Basie (1:41)
  11. 11 Racial Tension (2:16)
  12. 12 Influences (2:33)
  13. 13 Composing and Reading Music (5:16)
  14. 14 Recordings: Clarinet Dates (2:55)
  15. 15 Lady Day and Nobody's Business (2:44)
  16. 16 Philosophy on Music I (1:39)
  17. 17 Younger Saxophone (1:18)
  18. 18 Basie Then and Now (1:50)
  19. 19 Debunking (2:07)
  20. 20 Philosophy on Music II (1:37)
  21. 21 Pres's Sound: Sitting in with Fletcher Henderson (1:44)
  22. 22 Joining Henderson (2:28)
  23. 23 Early Pres; Oliver, Bronson, Basie (3:29)
  24. 24 Coleman Hawkins and Henderson (1:13)
  25. 25 Billie Holiday (1:25)
  26. 26 Recording Techniques (1:38)
  27. 27 Pres's Favorite Singers (2:00)
  28. 28 Philosophy on Music Vis-A-Vis Other Tenor Players (2:59)
  29. 29 Records New and Old (2:12)
  30. 30 Mahalia Jackson (0:55)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lester Young Primary Artist, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Vocals
Harry "Sweets" Edison Trumpet
Roy Eldridge Trumpet
Herb Ellis Guitar
Jimmy Gourley Guitar
Freddie Green Guitar
Hank Jones Piano
Jo Jones Drums
Barney Kessel Guitar
John Lewis Piano
Oscar Peterson Piano
Buddy Rich Drums
Teddy Wilson Piano
Lou Stein Piano
Mickey Sheen Drums
Connie Kay Drums
Gene Ramey Bass
Jamil Nasser Bass
George Duvivier Bass
Ray Brown Bass
Bill Clark Drums
Kenny Clarke Drums
Nat King Cole Piano
Vic Dickenson Trombone
Jesse Drakes Trumpet
Kansas Fields Drums
J.C. Heard Drums
Gildo Mahones Piano
John Ore Bass
Joe Shulman Bass
René Urtreger Piano
Technical Credits
Pietro Mascagni Composer
Harry "Sweets" Edison Liner Notes
Oscar Peterson Composer
Lester Young Composer
Ned Miller Composer
Norman Granz Producer
Dave Gelly Liner Notes
Adolph Green Composer
Walter Gross Composer
Benny Krueger Composer
Jack Lawrence Composer
Al Stillman Composer
Jule Styne Composer
Herman Leonard Cover Art
John Chilton Liner Notes
David Stone Martin Illustration Concept
Hollis King Art Direction
Alberto Dominguez Composer
Seymour Simons Composer
Gerald Marks Composer
Fred Fisher Composer
Sammy Gallop Composer
Alfred Bryan Composer
Chester Conn Composer
Bruno Coquatrix Composer
Leonard Whitcup Composer
Bryan Koniarz Liner Notes
Traditional Composer
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