A Lester Young interlude…

March 23rd, 2018

photo by Susanne Schapowalow


     “I’ll always remember when I first heard Lester. I’d never heard anyone like him before. He was a stylist with a different sound. A sound I’d never heard before or since. To be honest with you I didn’t like it much at first.

     “When Prez first came to me at the Reno Club in Kansas City it was like nothing we’d ever heard. And it was consistent. In all the years he was with our band he never had a bad night. No matter what happened to him personally, he never showed it in his playing. I can only remember him as being beautiful.”

– Count Basie




     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.  I ran into this wonderful one hour lecture by his biographer, Douglas Daniels — at the time professor of history and black studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara — that you may enjoy:




     I was fortunate to interview Mr. Daniels in 2002, when his biography was released.  You can read it by clicking here.   Additionally, there is an excellent piece by blogger Andrew Green focused on Young’s solo on Basie’s 1936 recording of “Lady Be Good”.  Click here to read it.



Some classic clips of Lester Young and others…









The cover of a 1956 album (this one a German release) simply titled “Pres”




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In This Issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.


In this edition of Reminiscing in Tempo,, Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Piazza, Gary Giddins, Randy Brecker, Michael Cuscuna, Terry Teachout and many others answer the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite recordings of the 1940’s?”


Interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins, author of the new book "Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940 - 1946"


Eight poets — John Stupp, Aurora Lewis, Michael L. Newell, Robert Nisbet, Alan Yount, Roger Singer, dan smith and Joan Donovan — write about the era of World War II

The Joys of Jazz

Award winning radio producer and host Bob Hecht shares his love of jazz through his podcasts on his site “The Joys of Jazz.” In this edition, he tells two stories; the history of the virtual anthem of World War II, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and the friendship and musical rapport of Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

Short Fiction

Hannah Draper of Ottawa, Ontario is the winner of the 49th Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award. Her story is titled "Will You Play For Me?"

Coming Soon

Three prominent scholars in a conversation about the lives of Billie Holiday, Ralph Ellison, and Langston Hughes (pictured)

Contributing writers

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