It’s never a bad idea to listen to Lester Young, and to be reminded of the complexity of his life, and of his enormous impact on American music and culture…
This jazz legend’s career included early work with Kid Ory in Barney Bigard’s group in 1942, a tour the following year with Louis Armstrong, and stints with Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, Art Tatum and Stan Getz. His last project was a late 1970’s collaboration with folk-rock singer Joni Mitchell. Who is he?
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At the piano
his two hands pump fingers
wide in unison
one hand does one thing
the other another
his eyes fixed on the sheet
music sheathed in
Photographer Paul Hoeffler, who studied with the likes of Ansel Adams, Alfred Eisenstadt, and Nancy Newhall, discovered an interest in photographing jazz musicians through his regular attendance at Rochester, New York jazz clubs the Pythodd, the Ridgecrest Inn, the Auditorium Theater, the Eastman Theater, and the University of Rochester auditoriums. He cites Louis Armstrong as an early inspiration, and he subsequently photographed Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck and a variety of others during their tours through
“Repeat after me: I will not hunt alligators while Désirée runs deliveries.”
Léon blinks at me, rich hickory eyes peering up from a face darker than any glancing touch of the sun could produce. He wriggles in a barely-perceptible fashion, bare heels grinding ringlets into the muddy deck, a creature of obstinacy and faux innocence whose smile mystically exiles all suspicion from my mind.
“’course, Dezzy,” he says. “There aren’t any alligators around right now, you know—they ain’t come out ‘til nighttime.”
“They don’t come out ‘til nighttime,” I correct him, swiping a hand over the top of his