29 sept. 2008

I was listening in the car to some early Stan Getz. A version of "Don't worry 'bout me" had some explicit Lester Youngisms ("What Lester plays, Stan getz"). Still, it was beautiful stuff: a happy medium swing tempo for a song that is usually played as a sad ballad. Lester would have played it sadder. Getz somewhat later made that legato even more legato, to the point of having the softest attack of almost any sax player. It's almost a bassoon. On a cd I bought once, they put an early Dexter Gordon session on a Lester Young cd., supposedly on the theory that Dexter at this point was basically playing Lester Young's style. And of course, there is Paul Quinichette, known as "Vice-pres" because he basically played an imitation of Lester Young's style. And that's just the tenors: alto players also felt his influence, especially white players of the cool West Coast school like Art Pepper.

People know that Billie Holiday gave him that nickname (Pres) because that seemd more appropriate than titles of nobility favored by others at the time (Duke, Count), and that he nicknamed her Lady Day. What I didn't realize until a while back was that Lester called everyone "Lady." Oscar Peterson was "Lady P." Quinichette would be "Layd Q." All of a sudden that name for Holiday looks a little different!

2 comentarios:

Henry Gould dijo...

What do you think of Lee Konitz?

I like all that early West Coast stuff. I like Chet Baker... they have this Pacific feeling. Oceanic.

Of course I like Bird & all too...

(but lately have been listening to a lot of Mali guitar & banjo music...)

Jonathan dijo...

Lee K is one of the greatest improvisers ever. He has one of the purist improvisational philosophies rather than just playing a series of "licks." I think he is vastly overlooked--though of course he's not really overlooked. I like Gerry Mulligan and other West Coast players of that period too.