There’s a blessed wave of centennial odes to tenor saxophonist Lester Young this morning:
- an NPR Morning Edition story
- Jazz.com‘s rundown of 12 essential Prez recordings
- Doug Ramsey‘s overview
- and Ethan Iverson‘s epic 10-part post
…and that’s just for starters.
On the WFIU front, check out this Night Lights program from the archives, The House in the Heart: Lester Young in the 1950s. One of the first programs I ever taped, I recall this show as a rather raw affair, in part because Young means so much to me. Like Billie Holiday, he provokes an intimate, emotional connection in many of his fans.
By way of further tribute, there’s also this week’s Afterglow program, Lester Young and the Singers, which features Prez in the company not only of Billie Holiday, but Jimmy Rushing, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Ecstine, and others as well.
Happy birthday, Lester Young. It’s hard to imagine modern jazz without you.