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Blues for Greasy

Lester Young

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August 27, 1909 - March 15, 1959


Lester Young is featured in an excerpt from an unfinished 1950 film short produced by Gjon Mili and Norman Granz.

Set List:

Harry 'Sweets' Edison, trumpet
Lester Young, tenor sax
Flip Phillips, tenor sax
Bill Harris, trombone
Hank Jones, piano
Ray Brown, bass
Buddy Rich, drums
Ella Fitzgerald, vocals

Born in Woodville, Mississippi, Lester Young moved to New Orleans when he was a baby and later to Minneapolis.

After leaning to play a variety of instruments from his estranged father including trumpet, saxophone, and violin he toured with family members on the vaudeville circuit, billed as the "Young Family Band".

Leaving the group when he turned eighteen he eventually settled in Kansas City in 1933 where he would join Count Basie's Orchestra following stints playing tenor sax and clarinet in a number of local bands.

Lester would leave Basie in 1940, briefly replacing Coleman Hawkins in the "Fletcher Henderson Orchestra", playing with the Andy Kirk band, and appearing on recordings with Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole, before his 1943 return to the Basie Orchestra.

In 1946 Following World War II, Lester Young began touring with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic and would continued for the next twelve years in addition to performing with Count Basie and many others.

Lester gave his final performance in Paris and died in New York in the early morning of March 15, 1959, hours after his return the U.S.

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