18 September 2009

Polka Dots and Moonbeams

Since I neglected to write anything about the Lester Young centennial, below are a few videos of Pres from YouTube. First, the 1944 short Jammin' The Blues, featuring Young, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Jo Jones, and others.

Below is Pres playing Pennies from Heaven in 1950 with Con Bill Harris, Hank Jones, Ray Brown, and Buddy Rich.

Finally, below is a recording of Young playing Polka Dots and Moonbeams with the Count Basie big band at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. In his Lester Young remembrance, Ethan Iverson said of the performance,
My god, if you aren’t moved by this you have a heart of stone. Young interfaces with the complicated big band chart behind him beautifully. (It’s reminiscent of Charlie Parker in a similar situation with a complicated chart on “My Foolish Things” on One Night In Washington.) Young’s secure aria over the opulence makes one regret that he never made the album with strings like he wanted to.
I totally agree.

1 comment:

Peter McDowell said...

Hi David,

May I send you some cds or mp3 of jazz artists with whom I work? If so, what is your preferred format and address for receiving them? I'm a freelance arts consultant based in Brooklyn.



Peter McDowell
Arts Consultant
+1 773 484 8811