Lester Willis Young , called "Prez" or "Pres" (born August 27, 1909 in Woodville , Mississippi , † March 15, 1959 in New York City ), was an American tenor saxophonist and clarinetist . Lester Young was one of the most influential saxophonists in jazz. His style of play marks the point of transition from swing to bebop . Characteristic were - in complete contrast to the powerful sound of Coleman Hawkins - his slim, bright tone and his elegant playing. Frankie Trumbauer had an audible influence on Lester Young's play . Together with guitarist Charlie Christian and bassist Jimmy Blanton , he was one of the key figures in jazz in the early 1940s.
The early years 1909–1934
His father, Willis Handy Young, was a roving musician and music teacher who had studied at the Tuskegee Institute and toured continuously with carnival and minstrel shows . His mother was a school teacher of Creole origin.
Lester Young said, “My father was a carnival musician. He could play all instruments, although he liked the trumpet best. He also gave singing lessons and traveled constantly through the country, and continued to give music lessons until he died in the forties. "
Lester was just a child when his family moved to New Orleans , to Algiers on the other side of the Mississippi. He grew up listening to the jazz music of New Orleans and distributed handouts in which the bands announced their performances. He rarely saw his father as a child, but when he was ten the father returned and took him, his sister Irma, and his brother Lee to rigorous classes with the intention of forming a family bond. The parents divorced at the same time. Lester first played drums , then he practiced violin , trumpet for a while , then alto saxophone .
When Lester Young was around eleven, the Youngs family band first moved to Memphis , but soon settled in Minneapolis and toured Minnesota , Dakota and Kansas during Carnival (school-free) season , with Lester as the drummer and poster carrier for the Minstrel Shows.
At the age of 18 at the end of 1927, after one of the frequent quarrels with his father, he left the family band when they toured in Texas and joined a group called Art Bronson's Bostonians , in which he mostly played baritone and alto saxophone, but also switched to tenor saxophone as the band's tenor player wasn't very good. In 1929 he left the Bostonians, played briefly again with the family band in New Mexico, and in September 1930 joined Walter Pages Blue Devils , with whom he had some rough times.
“We, the Blue Devils, were really squeezed,” he told Leonard Feather , “and were supposed to play in front of three people. Once all of our instruments were taken from us and they took us to the railroad tracks and said we should get out of town ... "
In 1931 Lester Young worked after this experience as a " freelance " in the Minneapolis area, where he played in the Nest Club (under Eddie Barefield et al.). In the spring of 1932 he went on tour with the Thirteen Original Blue Devils to Oklahoma City , where he met Charlie Christian , and played with the band until mid-1933.
It was in Minneapolis that Young heard Count Basie's band for the first time : “I used to hear the Basie Band on the radio all the time and thought they needed a tenor player. They played at the Reno Club in Kansas City. It was crazy, the whole band went crazy except for the tenor player. I figured it couldn't go on like this. So I sent a telegram to Basie. He had heard me before. We both commuted back and forth between Minneapolis and Kansas City regularly. "
Benny Carter recalled Young in Minneapolis: “When I was touring with McKinney's Cotton Pickers in 1932 , we were in Minneapolis and someone told us about a wonderful alto saxophone player in a local club. I went to hear 'Prez' and was completely blown away. That was the biggest thing I had ever heard. "
Lester Young had bought all Frank Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke records ("Frank was my idol!"). He liked the sound of Trumbauer's C-Melody saxophone and his way of approaching the melody, which influenced him in the development of his own playing style. By Bud Freeman's unique phrasing and timbre he was finally on the tenor saxophone brought.
Coleman Hawkins was now the "king" of the tenor saxophone, and after Lester Young switched to tenor, he developed a style opposite Coleman on his main instrument, less bold and more extroverted than that of Hawkins' five-year-old senior. Young had since moved to Kansas City after the original Blue Devils broke up in mid-1933 , where he played with the Bennie Moten- George E. Lee Band, Clarence Love, and King Oliver . He attracted attention in December 1933 jam sessions in which there was a musical competition with Coleman Hawkins of the Fletcher Henderson Band. After a first brief engagement in the Count Basie and His Cherry Blossom Orchestra in 1934, after he came out of Moten's orchestra and swapped places with Herschel Evans, who went from Basie to Moten, he left the group in March to join Hawkins temporarily in the Fletcher Henderson Replace tape . His style, which was completely different from Hawkins, met with little approval from the band members and he left the band after a few months.
The Basie Band 1934–1940
Lester Young soon returned to Kansas City (as part of Andy Kirk's band ) with a letter from Fletcher Henderson assuring him that he had not fired him. In 1935 he worked on a " freelance " basis in Kansas City and Minnesota (including in the bands of Boyd Atkins and Rook Ganz ). In 1936 he was again a member of the Count Basie Band ; the record producer John Hammond heard him and made his first record with Lester on October 9, 1936; four pieces, recorded in Chicago when they had an engagement at the “Grand Terrace”, with Basie, trumpeter Carl “Tatti” Smith, the rhythm section from Walter Page and Jo Jones , and singer Jimmy Rushing . When the records appeared on Vocalion Records under the name Jones-Smith Inc. , it became clear that it was a new kind of music. “Economically, less is more,” wrote Gunther Schuller much later. In particular, Oh, Lady Be Good! made him known among musicians.
Three months later, the entire Count Basie Orchestra in New York City had its first session (documented on The Original American Decca Recordings ), and the jazz scene of the time quickly learned that there was a new way of playing the saxophone.
Dexter Gordon describes this moment: “Hawkins had done everything possible and was a master at his horn, but when Prez appeared we only heard him. Prez had a completely different sound, one that we had all been waiting for; the first to really tell a story on the tenor. "
Lester Young's arrival in the Basie Band in 1936 coincided with a five-year absence from Coleman Hawkins , who was in Europe. A major factor in the fact that Lester's innovative experiments were more popular than would have been possible if Hawkins had still drawn the full attention of the American jazz scene.
Now he experienced the most fruitful and happiest time of his career. In the so-called "Tenor Battles" Lester Young fought musical battles with his bandmate Herschel Evans , who was in the Hawkins tradition and who Basie effectively confronted Young. When Evans died suddenly in 1939, Lester took over his musical role in the band. His death shook him so much that he began to drink heavily.
Jo Jones recalls: “Back then, Lester had the greatest respect and admiration for Herschel Evans; when he died it was just as if twins were dying. He wanted to take his coat and leave the seat, but the boys brought him back. "
His recordings with small groups like the Kansas City Six / Five ( Lester leaps in 1939) and especially with the singer Billie Holiday made him known. His nickname “Prez” (or “Pres”), which means “the president”, came from Billie Holiday or “Lady Day”, as he dubbed her. Since they made recordings together in 1937, the two had been close friends, which lasted until Young's death in 1959, despite long periods in which they did not see each other. A sign of his growing fame was his participation in Benny Goodman's Carnegie Hall concerts in 1938.
In 1940 Lester Young left the Basie Band. His break with Count Basie is due to his complex personality: he refused to attend a recording session on Friday the 13th. He then led a short-lived group in early 1941 at Kelly's Stable jazz club on New York's 52nd Street. In May 1941 he entered a sextet with his brother, the drummer Lee Young , with whom he played in Los Angeles and in September 1942 at the Club Café Society in New York. Despite all the admiration and publicity that met him, he was unable to keep a band for long; he just wasn't a born band leader. The partnership with his brother ended in 1943 and Lester found himself - ironically - as a sideman in a band led by the skilled but not eminent tenor saxophonist Al Sears .
In December 1943 he got back into the Count Basie Band as abruptly as he quit. This second time their collaboration was not as spectacular as between 1936 and 1940, but it continued during the “ recording ban ” in 1942/44; therefore there are no official recordings from this period. In 1944 he won the Down Beat Polls for the first time as best tenor saxophonist and with "Sometimes I'm Happy" he achieved # 5 in the " Harlem Hit Parade ".
Six months later - Lester Young had left the Basie Band again in 1944 - he was drafted into the US Army . After the recordings for the musical short film Jammin 'the Blues he was literally taken off the stage (he had ignored several draft notices) and drafted, as was the drummer of the band Jo Jones . Unlike many other famous jazz musicians (especially white), he was not allowed to play in an Army band - a punishment for having the FBI remind him of his wartime duty. Instead, he served as an ordinary infantryman and was called up in Fort McClelland, Alabama for auxiliary services in an army hospital. The sensitive Young found it difficult to get used to army life - even the obligatory short haircut was degrading. He was sentenced by the court martial to five years in prison for a drug offense (he was found with marijuana ) and a racist incident with a major (who searched his locker and found a picture of Lester Young's fiancé, a white man) Year in the Fort Gordon Army Camp in Georgia. An army psychiatrist diagnosed him as a "constitutional psychopath" because Young found nothing wrong with the use of marijuana, which was widespread among New Orleans musicians at the time. The conditions in the penal camp were tough, but he was "allowed" to play in front of officers on Sundays. Lester Young, who had a subtle, almost childlike disposition and never found his way around bourgeois norms, was considerably traumatized by these experiences. His stay in the army prison camp gave rise to his composition D. B. Blues (D. B. for "detention barracks")
When Lester Young returned to the jazz scene on New York's 52nd Street after his dishonorable discharge towards the end of 1945 , he found the jazz world in the midst of a change: the bebop was hot, and a new generation of young tenor saxophonists heard his records and began to absorb his musical ideas. Lester Young found little time for his admirers and imitators: he preferred mainstream jazz and privately listened to easy-listening music by Frank Sinatra or Dick Haymes . Young initially had great problems finding his way musically and personally in civil life.
The "Aladdin" sessions 1945–1947
Shortly after his return to the jazz scene, Lester Young went to Southern California, where he signed a recording deal with Ed Mesner, owner of the small music label Philo Records - later Aladdin Records . The "Aladdin" sessions produced by Leonard Feather (published in 1975 by Blue Note under the title The Complete Aladdin Recordings of Lester Young ) from July 1945 to December 1947 are among the most important recordings Lester Young made after his time in the Basie Band Has. In this period, Lester divided his time into his performances at the Jazz At The Philharmonic -Konzerten of Norman Granz , with whom he was to stay connected long (Granz took Lester for Mercury Records and his own jazz label Clef and Norgran later Verve Records on ) and night club appearances and recordings with his own bands, to which the young bebop pianist Argonne Thornton (alias Sadik Hakim ), the bassists Red Callender and Curly Russell , the guitarists Fred Lacey , Chuck Wayne , Nasir Bakaraat and the drummers Henry Tucker and Roy Should belong to Haynes . In December 1945 he also recorded records for Aladdin Records with singer Helen Humes , who Granz produced.
The first "Aladdin" session took place in December 1945 with an old colleague from the Basie Band, trombonist Vic Dickenson , who was with Basie from 1940 to 1941, and a young bebop pianist named Dodo Marmarosa . During this time, a small group of “highlights of jazz” emerged, such as These Foolish Things , It's Only A Paper Moon , Lover Come Back to Me , She's Funny That Way or You're Driving Me Crazy . After the “Aladdin” sessions in 1947, Lester Young's health and artistic decline began.
Lester Young was with Jazz at the Philharmonic in Europe in the spring of 1952 and 1953. Since 1946 he had made recordings with Norman Granz on his Clef and Norgran label, later on Verve Records . Until 1958, Norman Granz took up the tenor, among others with the trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Harry Sweets Edison , the pianists Nat King Cole , John Lewis , Teddy Wilson , Hank Jones and Oscar Peterson , the guitarist Freddie Green , Barney Kessel , the bassist John Ore , Ray Brown , drummers Buddy Rich , Jo Jones, and J. C. Heard . During this time - stylistically related to mainstream jazz - a number of highlights emerged, such as pieces such as Up 'n' Adam (1950, with Nat Cole), Undercover Girl Blues (1951, with John Lewis), Gigantic Blues (1956, with Vic Dickenson and Roy Eldridge) and Prez 'Return (1956, with Teddy Wilson) as well as the 1952 Norgran album Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio .
All in all, the sessions for Norman Granz were only a faint reflection of the great old "President". But often they still sparkled, and you could still feel something of the genius of this great musician - for example on the Verve record The Jazz Giants '56 with Teddy Wilson, Roy Eldridge, Vic Dickenson and other great swing musicians . In addition to these successful sessions, there were also catastrophic situations when a completely drunk Lester Young gave up performances, collapsed or at least disappointed them musically.
A longer stay in hospital from November 1955 onwards only brought about a temporary improvement in his broken health. The last Verve sessions for Granz are evidence of this: The double session on February 7th and 8th took place shortly after his stay at New York's Kings County Hospital. He, the 49-year-old, was told that if he didn't stop drinking right away, he would be dead soon, but he still wouldn't stop. In addition, there was a lack of resistance due to malnutrition. It hurts to listen to most of the recordings of this session, but the opening clarinet chorus on They Can't Take That Away from Me is the last great document of his recording career: "Careful, groping, writhing unheard of." In 1957 he played again the Count Basie Orchestra at the Newport Jazz Festival ; in December he once again accompanied Billie Holiday on the television recording of Fine and Mellow .
Meanwhile, his third marriage had also broken up. His problems were obvious to everyone. From the spring of 1958 he no longer lived in his house, but in the Hotel Alvin directly opposite the Birdland music meeting place (on the corner of 52nd Street and Broadway), where a woman looked after him. Although he showed signs of recovery and played with Jack Teagarden in Newport in July , he kept relapsing. Mostly he was in his hotel room, where he drank up to three bottles of gin a day and liked to listen to Sinatra records. At times it was impossible to miss how drunk he sat in a chair across from the club and imagined playing the saxophone.
Finally he visited - u. a. with the Birdland All Stars - 1959 Paris and had a disastrous appearance in the Blue Note Club. Ben Benjamin, the boss of the club reports: “Lester was very sick when he was playing for me. He was almost apathetic. He wanted to go home because, as he said, he couldn't speak to the French doctors. He had a stomach ulcer and I think he drank a little too much ... "
Lester Young returned to New York completely exhausted. A short time later, a friend spotted him in his hotel room in a coma . He died of heart failure, but ultimately of the consequences of his alcohol and drug addiction and the various illnesses that had undermined his health in previous years. "Prez" suffered the fate of other great jazz musicians like Charlie Parker or Billie Holiday , who died a little later after him; the latter collapsed upon receiving news of Young's death. On the drive to the funeral, she told Leonard Feather that she was probably the next.
Lester Young's grave is in Evergreen Cemetery (Pine Plains, New York).
Leonard Feather describes Lester Young's personality in an anecdote he was told by a former teammate Young: “I gave him a pair of shoes one time and one day I walked in and found them in his trash. Only then did I understand that it was some with hard soles, and he would only ever wear moccasins or slippers ”. This story shows what the essence of Lester Young was as a person and as a musician. He was basically friendly, but remained lonely nonetheless; someone who couldn't cope with this world of "one night stands", hotel rooms, agents, binge drinking in shabby clubs and racial segregation and discrimination, which reached a terrible climax in his experiences during the army.
One agent said of him, “Lester has the sensitivity of Charles Baudelaire or James Joyce . He lives in a world of his own, and what is outside of that world, Prez believes, is not in the world. But: this world of his own is a wonderful world that is mild and kind and lovely ”. Drummer Jo Jones said: "Anything that hurts any human being hurts him."
Lester Young coined the phrase: "A musician should know the lyrics of the music he is playing". When Lester Young improvises over a melody, he tries to convey the text of this melody to the listener directly and without words. "I spend most of my time listening to records with singers and trying to learn the lyrics of the different songs," said Lester Young. Young considered the knowledge of the song lyrics to be indispensable, "so as not to just doodle about the changes," as he criticized his contemporaries when playing.
The key to Lester Young's melodic improvisations, which swing confidently across time and form periods, lies precisely in his personality and its declared proximity to language and song.
Lester Young's compositions are mostly variants on the popular in the 1930s standards of the Great American Songbook are based on long-established or chord progressions, such as the DB Blues , a Blues 12-12-8-12 format, the on I Got Rhythm based . Lester Blows Again uses the harmonic foundations of Honeysuckle Rose that were often used at the time . Important compositions are Easy Does It, Movin 'With Lester, Lester Blows Again, Lester Leaps In , Lester Smooths Out, Up'N'Adam, Neenah, Undercover Girl Blues, Lester Swings, Ad Lib Blues (Young / Oscar Peterson), Waldorf Blues, Jumpin 'with Symphony Sid , Rocka-Bye-Basie (with Shad Collins , Count Basie ), Taxi War Dance and Tickle Toe .
Voices of his colleagues
“When you've fully realized that Lester Young's originality is inexhaustible, then you've understood why he's in a class of his own. A mistake never creeps in; you experience an outstanding soloist who never runs out of ideas, who never steals anything from someone else: an absolutely independent person. "
“I still remember how Lester was blowing cool sounds on his tenor at the Subway Club in Kansas City . That was a very small shop […]. When I first heard Lester I was surprised. It took several choruses to get going, but then, child, what a horn! "
“I sang in the Basie Band for a while, and Lester lived with my mother and me at home. I named him 'President', he called me 'Lady', and he named my mother 'Duchess'. We were the Harlem royal family. Pres and Herschel Evans only thought of how one could outdo the other. You could find them in the orchestra room, carving about their papers, trying again and again with new and different ones and doing everything imaginable to get the better of the other. Once Herschel Lester asked: 'Man, why don't you play alto? You have a tone that is made for an old man! ' Lester tapped his forehead: 'Things happen up here, my dear,' he said to Herschel, 'most of you are primitive fellows. Just stomach and nothing else. '"
“Everyone who plays an instrument expresses what they think. Lester played a bunch of musical phrases that were really words. He could literally speak on his horn. That's his kind of conversation. I can tell what he's talking about 85 percent of the time. I could write his thoughts on paper based on what I hear from his horn. Benny Goodman even made a piece of music from a phrase Lester played: 'I need some money'. "
“It was just this absolutely great music that he was making. It wasn't that he was doing particularly well, it was completely wrong. We thought nothing of it. We just left him sitting on a bench to the side. ... it wasn't even very sad either. I don't remember anyone saying, 'I think he's going to die soon'. We didn't think of that. "
Its influence on jazz
The jazz historian Marshall Stearns marked his historical as well as his artistic position; he called him the "Cezanne des Jazz": just as Paul Cézanne prepared modern art, Lester Young prepared modern jazz.
Joachim-Ernst Berendt writes about Lester Young's influence: “The sound of modern jazz is - to use a word from arranger Bill Russo , 'tenorized'. The man who tenorized him is Lester Young ”. The sound of the Miles Davis Capitol Orchestra 1948-50 was an “orchestration” of Lester Young's tenor saxophone playing. According to Berendt, all the important tenor saxophonists of the 1950s, even alto and baritone saxophonists, trumpeters, trombonists and cool jazz pianists, were influenced by Lester Young.
Ekkehard Jost investigates what fascinated all the musicians so much about Lester Young's playing style. As an indirect explanation, he cites a quote from John Hammond : “Benny Goodman once told me an interesting thing about Lester. He said Lester was the only person who ever achieved a pure sound on the tenor. Benny was always of the opinion that Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins and the others grabbed too hard and had a sound that was not a 'natural' tenor sound. "
Young's game influenced Paul Quinichette so much that he was named Vice President . Shortly before Lester Young died, Charles Mingus composed the piece Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (based on Mingus Ah Um , 1959) as a tribute to him . The title alludes to the flat hat typical of Young. In the French movie at midnight (Round Midnight) of Bertrand Tavernier , the fictional character of "Dale Turner" is based (in the film played by Dexter Gordon ) in part on the experiences of Lester Young in Paris and in New York after his return shortly before his death .
Lee Konitz said of him: “And then the sound of Lester Young on the old Basie records! Really nice tenor saxophone sound, pure sound. That's what matters. Even with the old; pure sound. How many people has he influenced, how many lives! Because it is definitely the starting point of all the things that happened next. And its rhythmic concept! Complex for all its simplicity! How should I analyze this? Shall we give the child a name? Then let's say 'polyrhythmic' ”.
In 1959, Lester Young was posthumously elected to the American Jazz Hall of Fame . In a survey by Leonard Feathers among 101 leading musicians in 1956 for their “all time favorite”, Lester Young was named with an absolute majority - even before Hawkins and Stan Getz .
- Count Basie : The Original American Decca Recordings (1937–1939), Decca / MCA / GRP
- Kansas City Six : The Kansas City Sessions (1936-1938), Commodore
- Billie Holiday : The Quintessential Billie Holiday , Vol. 3 (1936-37), Vol. 4 (1937), Vol. 5 (1937-38), Vol. 9 (1940-42), Columbia
- The Savory Collection 1935–1940 ( Mosaic Records , live recordings of the Basie Orchestra from 1938–40)
- Nat King Cole : 1941-1943 , Classics
- Billie Holiday: Lady In Autumn (1946-59), Verve
- Lester Young: The Complete Savoy Recordings ( Savoy Records , 1944-52)
- The Complete Aladdin Recordings of Lester Young (October 1945 - December 1947), Blue Note Re-Issue Series
- Bird and Pres - The '46 Concerts Jazz at the Philharmonic (January / April 1946)
Jazz At The Philharmonic (from 1946), Clef / Verve
by Norman Granz produced live recordings with a changing line-up.
- Lester Young: Prez's Hat , Vol. 1 - Vol. 5, (1938–1955), Philology (Italian label)
Only Prez's Hat , Vol.1 contains a. a. the only live recording from the legendary Parisian “Blue Note” (There Will Never Be Another You) and a live recording of This Is Always / I Cover the Waterfront with a piano introduction by Hank Jones .
- Lester Young: The Complete Verve Studio Sessions (1946–1958), Verve
Contains all recordings produced by Norman Granz on Mercury , Clef, Norgran, and Verve Records.
Lester Young And The Piano Giants (1946–1956), Verve
with Harry "Sweets" Edison , Roy Eldridge , Vic Dickenson , Nat King Cole , Hank Jones , John Lewis , Teddy Wilson , Freddie Green , Ray Brown , Jo Jones , Buddy Rich
Lester Young Trio (1943, 1946), Verve
with Dexter Gordon , Harry "Sweets" Edison, Red Callender , Buddy Rich
Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Norgran / Verve) (also under: The President Plays With The Oscar Peterson Trio , 1952 (Verve))
Musicians: Lester Young (ts), Oscar Peterson (p), Barney Kessel (g), Ray Brown (b), JC Heard (dr)
- Pres An Sweets (1955), Verve, with Harry "Sweets" Edison, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis , Ray Brown, Buddy Rich
Pres and Teddy (1956), Verve
with Teddy Wilson , Gene Ramey , Jo Jones
- Lester Young in Washington, DC (1956), OJC with Bill Potts , Norman Williams , Jim Lucht
- Laughin 'to Keep from Cryin' (Verve, 1958) with Sweets Edison, Roy Eldridge, Hank Jones, Herb Ellis, George Duvivier , Mickey Sheene
- Classic Columbia , Okeh and Columbia Lester Young with Count Basie (1939-1940) . Mosaic , 2008, 4 CDs - with Carl Smith tp, Walter Page , Jo Jones , Jimmy Rushing , Buck Clayton , Shad Collins , Dan Minor tb, Freddie Green , Harry Sweets Edison , Ed Lewis , Benny Morton , Dicky Wells , Earle Warren , Buddy Tate , Jack Washington bs, Helen Humes , Lee Castle tp, Glenn Hardman organ, Al Killian , Vic Dickenson , Tab Smith , Benny Goodman , Charlie Christian
- Classic 1936-1947 Count Basie and Lester Young Studio Sessions (Mosaic, ed. 2016)
Film and television recordings
The 10-minute short film by Gjön Mili Jammin 'the Blues from 1944 (for which Norman Granz acted as an advisor) shows Lester Young in a jam session with Illinois Jacquet , Sweets Edison , Marie Bryant , Barney Kessel , Red Callender , Sid Catlett , Jo Jones .
In 1950 Granz and Mili showed the musician improvising .
His only vocal recording took place at the Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts on November 28, 1952 (It takes two to Tango) , but was not released until the 1980s. Granz originally wanted Young to appear in concert with it. Young didn’t want it published, so dropped some vulgar phrases during the recording.
The appearance for the CBS -TV series The Sound Of Jazz by Billie Holiday with the piece Fine and Mellow on 8 December 1957, the singer of Lester Young, is Gerry Mulligan , Doc Cheatham , Ben Webster , Mal Waldron Milt Hinton . Accompanied by Osie Johnson and Danny Barker . The short excerpt when Lady Day smiles to herself during Lester Young's solo is impressive.
- The stylistic similarity can be heard very well on recordings such as For No Reason At All In 'C' from 1927, which Trumbauer recorded together with Bix Beiderbecke [cn, p] and the guitarist Eddie Lang .
- Extensively documented on the eight CDs of the Complete Lester Young Studio Sessions on Verve
- Frank Büchmann-Møller: You just fight for your life - the story of Lester Young . New York, Praeger 1990
- Frank Büchmann-Møller: You got to be original, Man! The Music of Lester Young (annotated discography)
- Werner Burkhardt , Joachim Gerth: Lester Young , Pegasus Verlag, Wetzlar 1959
- Douglas Henry Daniels: Lester Leaps in: the life and times of Lester "Pres" Young . Beacon Press, Boston 1990
- Luc Delannoy: Pres - the Story of Lester Young . University of Arkansas Press, 1993
- Arrigo Polillo : Jazz . Piper, Munich 1984, chapter "Lester Young"
- Lewis Porter : Lester Young . Twayne, 1985
- Lewis Porter (Ed.): The Lester Young Reader . Smithsonian Press, Washington DC 1991
- Lester Young: The Complete Aladdin Sessions (Vol. 1) , arte , September 8, 2006, series: “30 Century Recordings of Jazz”, by Günther Huesmann
- The Jones-Smith Inc. recordings from 1936
- Lester Young Bio from the Ken Burns range
- Anderson: biography. ( Memento from November 7, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
- Discography. ( Memento of April 3, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Duke.edu
- Lester Young at Discogs (English)
- Lester Young in the database of Find a Grave (English)
- Richard Cook , Brian Morton : The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD . 6th edition. Penguin, London 2002, ISBN 0-14-051521-6 , p. 1588.
- Nat Hentoff , Nat Shapiro : Jazz tells - Hear Me Talkin 'To Ya . Nymphenburger Verlag, Munich 1959, p. 320
- Leonard Feather: Liner Notes for Lester Young - The Complete Aladdin Recordings (Blue Note). The incident occurred in Martinville, West Virginia in 1933 and marked the end of the original Blue Devils .
- Nat Hentoff , Nat Shapiro : Hear Me Talkin 'To Ya . Penguin, 1959, p. 300. Translated from Hentoff, Shapiro
- Donald Clarke: Billie Holiday. Wishing on the moon. A biography . Piper, Munich 1995, p. 156
- Martin Kunzler : Jazz Lexicon . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1993, p. 1324
- Dave Gelly : Liner notes for The Complete Lester Young Studio Recordings . Verve, 1999. Lester Young recorded with Nat King Cole and Buddy Rich for Grantz I Cover the Waterfront in March or April 1946. They appeared together in the "Jubilee shows" of the Armed Forces Radio Service
- Martin Kunzler: Jazz Lexicon . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1993, p. 1325
- Joachim-Ernst Berendt: The jazz book . Krüger, Frankfurt / Main 1976, p. 86
- Joachim-Ernst Berendt: The jazz book . Krüger, Frankfurt / Main 1976, p. 86. He told the journalist Postif around this time that he would soon die. Jazz Hot , April 1959, quoted from Polillo: Jazz .
- Joachim-Ernst Berendt: The jazz book . Krüger, Frankfurt / Main 1976, p. 84
- Joachim-Ernst Berendt: The Jazz Book . Krüger, Frankfurt / Main 1976, p. 85
- Martin Kunzler: Jazz Lexicon . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1993, p. 1321
- Boris Vian : Pride and Prejudice - Writings, glosses and reviews on jazz . Hannibal, Vienna 1990. Record review for Lover Come back To me / It's Only a Paper Moon
- Nat Hentoff , Nat Shapiro : Jazz tells - Hear Me Talkin 'To Ya . Nymphenburger Verlag, Munich 1959, p. 323
- Nat Hentoff , Nat Shapiro : Jazz tells - Hear Me Talkin 'To Ya . Nymphenburger Verlag, Munich 1959, p. 324 f.
- Donald Clarke: Billie Holiday. Wishing on the moon. A biography . Piper, Munich 1995, p. 486. Milt Hinton on Lester Young's TV appearance with Billie Holiday on December 8, 1957
- Joachim-Ernst Berendt: The jazz book . Krüger, Frankfurt / Main 1976, p. 83
- Joachim-Ernst Berendt: The jazz book . Krüger, Frankfurt / Main 1976, p. 82
- Dave Gelly: Being Prez - the Life and Music of Lester Young . Equinox Publishing, Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 1-84553-058-6 , p. 120
- Donald Clarke: Billie Holiday. Wishing on the moon. A biography . Piper, Munich 1995, p. 486
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Young, Lester Willis (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American tenor saxophonist and clarinetist|
|DATE OF BIRTH||August 27, 1909|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Woodville , Mississippi|
|DATE OF DEATH||March 15, 1959|
|Place of death||New York City|