Lester Young (1909-1959)
March 15, 2009 3:58 PM   Subscribe

50 years ago today, we said goodbye to Pork Pie Hat.

One of the saddest lives in jazz was the inspiration for Geoff Dyer's But Beautiful - which Keith Jarrett praised as "the only book about jazz that I have recommended to my friends. It is a little gem". You can read an excerpt here. [On the left side of the screen, click the "Excerpt link.]
posted by Joe Beese (12 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by stonepharisee at 4:05 PM on March 15, 2009

80,000th post! What does he win, Matt?
posted by Rhaomi at 4:11 PM on March 15, 2009

80,000? I know Joe's participated a lot in his sort time with us, but that seems a tad high.
posted by gman at 4:28 PM on March 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Lester Young sounds like he was one bitter man, one smooth smooth bitter man. Love it.
posted by nola at 4:46 PM on March 15, 2009

Eighty thousand is, for your information, over nine thousand
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:17 PM on March 15, 2009

This is where I became aware of the pork pie hat. I loved this comic, and the hat that it represents, so much that I bought a framed print and it hangs proudly on my wall.
posted by Nedroid at 8:00 PM on March 15, 2009

Some lovely prose in that excerpt.
posted by Wolof at 9:04 PM on March 15, 2009

Lots of guys played beautiful sax, but no one ever sang through a horn like Pres did.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:48 PM on March 15, 2009

Am I square for linking to the obvious - Theme For Lester Young, one of Mingus' masterpieces, also known as Goodbye Pork Pie Hat?
posted by dirtdirt at 6:29 AM on March 16, 2009

I highly recommend Pres and Teddy, some of his better stuff and being recorded by Norman Granz the sound is great even by today's standards.
posted by caddis at 7:02 AM on March 16, 2009

A timely post, and very nice writing by Mr. Dyer—thanks for linking to it. Minor quibble, but annoying to those of us who are persnickety about these things: he writes "In Kansas in '54 they played right through the morning..." That's a famous story, and it takes place in the Cherry Blossom Club (formerly the Eblon Theater), on Vine St. right in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
posted by languagehat at 12:07 PM on March 16, 2009

I like that Mingus left the stage and wrote the piece as soon as he heard about Lester's death.
posted by MNDZ at 6:00 AM on March 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

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