Lester Young Centennial
August 27, 2009 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Lester Young (Aug. 27, 1909–March 15, 1959) is given not just a memorial, but extensive musicological criticism and contextual information in this ten-chapter series by jazz pianist and blogger Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus. Solo transcriptions and analyses, interviews with Lee Konitz, Tootie and Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, an essay on Young's influence on Miles Davis, a discographic primer and more. (Previously.)

For more of Iverson's top-notch jazz blogging, here's Do the Math's table of contents. A lot of this deserves to be published outside of the blogosphere.
posted by ism (14 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Nice post. Young was the focus on Rob Bamberger's Hot Jazz Saturday Night on WAMU last Saturday, and it was a delightful show.
posted by OmieWise at 10:30 AM on August 27, 2009

Lester Young's Minneapolis years, which I wrote about on my blog, is one of Minneapolis's only claims to having participated in the development of jazz in a really significant way, and it's almost totally forgotten by us Minneapolitans. Why? I guess we're sort of stupid about this sort of thing.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:32 AM on August 27, 2009

A Minneapolitan myself, I never knew that until reading his Wiki bio today. Iverson's band started in the Twin Cities -- surprised he didn't mention it (that I've seen so far, at least). Thanks for the link.

And building on this (quoted from your blog post):
Lester initially [played] drums, until he got tired of assembling and disassembling the kits, whereupon he switched to saxophone.
bassist Richard Davis claims that the time it took to pack up the drums after a gig prevented Young from getting out and meeting the ladies in the audience, which was his motivation to switch instruments.
posted by ism at 10:47 AM on August 27, 2009

Lester was also the posthumous recipient of the greatest elegy ever written in the course of human history.

(Yes, it is. It's adorable that you have another opinion, but it just IS.)
posted by el_lupino at 11:00 AM on August 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

Great post, thanks! Lester Young + Ethan Iverson = awesomeness.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:15 AM on August 27, 2009

This is great! The transcriptions alone are a treasure trove of goodness.
posted by speicus at 11:20 AM on August 27, 2009

Nice post. I just wish I was musically learned enough to really understand all the analysis. Still, I love me some Prez.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:23 AM on August 27, 2009

I believe the WKCR is doing a birthday broadcast right now.
posted by caddis at 11:35 AM on August 27, 2009

Following up OmniWise, you can listen to this week's Hot Jazz Saturday Night at http://wamu.org/programs/hjsn/ (until this coming Monday , when it gets replaced with this Saturday's).
posted by fings at 12:45 PM on August 27, 2009

This is very good.
posted by y2karl at 1:03 PM on August 27, 2009

Prez changed the way so many others played after him, and as we celebrate his centennial birthday, it's a shame so many online last week missed what would've been the 80th birthday of the great Bill Evans (August 16), about whom much the same can be said.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 1:32 PM on August 27, 2009

Great post, thanks!

> I believe the WKCR is doing a birthday broadcast right now.

If they weren't, it would mean Phil Schaap had gone to the Great Microphone in the Sky and the station had been taken over by alien ants.
posted by languagehat at 3:00 PM on August 27, 2009

Do The Math's long post-series are always excellent.

However, I just discovered via the post beneath the last post in the Lester Young series that Joe Maneri has died! Yesterday or the day before. Very sad.
posted by kenko at 3:00 PM on August 27, 2009

Oh, shit. Maneri was fantastic; I saw him just a few years ago. Since there probably won't be a post about him:
posted by languagehat at 3:22 PM on August 27, 2009

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