Lester Young – The Complete Aladdin Recordings Of Lester Young

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Lester Young recorded for the Aladdin label between December 1945 and December 1947, leading a series of small groups that would range in size from quintets to a septet. While Young’s solos were a marvelous paradox of the languid and the taut, his approach to putting a group together could be simply casual. His sidemen here come from both the ranks of the justly celebrated and the journeymen, whose names have all but disappeared from jazz history. The bands can include collisions of swing era stalwarts and dedicated boppers. Something of that’s apparent in the first Aladdin session, where trombonist Vic Dickenson and pianist Dodo Marmarosa seem to have the blues in different languages on Young’s eloquent “D.B. Blues.” It seems to have mattered little to Young, who was in many ways a school of one. His playing here is usually at a level that others only dream about, creating a linear flow that has its own superior internal logic, whether the subject at hand is a standard, a blues, or an uptempo variant on “I Got Rhythm.” His sound is one of the marvels of jazz, not just for its airy transparency but for its flexibility, the way a line is constantly shaded with gently honking punctuations and a hint of gravel. In addition to the Aladdin sessions, this two-CD set includes a 1942 trio date that’s focused on standards and has Nat “King” Cole on piano and Red Callendar on bass. Young’s solo on “Indiana” is one of his marvels of multidimensional swing. There’s also a 1945 session with singer Helen Humes that has terrific input from trumpeter Snooky Young and altoist Willie Smith as well as Young. –Stuart Broomer

“This is a well-conceived and brilliant set filled with exciting performances by one of the true greats of jazz.” – Scott Yanow/AllMusic.

Track listings:
Disc: 1
1 Indiana
2 I Can’t Get Started
3 Tea For Two
4 Body And Soul
5 D. B. Blues
6 Lester Blows Again
7 These Foolish Things
8 Jumpin’ At Mesner’s
9 It’s Only A Paper Moon
10 After You’ve Gone
11 Lover Come Back To Me
12 Jammin’ With Lester
13 You’re Driving Me Crazy
14 New Lester Leaps In
15 Lester’s Be Bop Boogie
16 She’s Funny That Way
17 Sunday
18 S. M. Blues
Disc: 2
1 Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid
2 No Eyes Blues
3 Sax-O-Be-Bop
4 On The Sunny Side Of The Street
5 Easy Does It
6 Easy Does It (Alternative Take)
7 Movin’ With Lester
8 One O’Clock Jump
9 Jumpin’ At The Woodside
10 I’m Confessin’
11 Lester Smooths It Out
12 Just Cooling
13 Tea For Two
14 East Of The Sun
15 The Sheik Of Araby
16 Something To Remember You By
17 Riffin’ Without Helen
18 Please Let Me Forget
19 He Don’t Love Me Anymore
20 Pleasing Man Blues
21 See See Rider
22 It’s Better To Give Than Receive


Alto Saxophone – Willie Smith (2) (tracks: 1-9 to 1-12, 2-17 to 2-22)
Bass – Curly Russell (tracks: 2-13 to 2-16), Curtis Counce (tracks: 1-9 to 1-12), Junior Rudd (tracks: 2-17 to 2-22), Red Callender (tracks: 1-1 to 1-8, 1-13 to 1-16), Rodney Richardson (tracks: 1-17 to 2-5, 2-10 to 2-12), Ted Briscoe (tracks: 2-5 to 2-9)
Drums – Chico Hamilton (tracks: 1-13 to 1-16), Henry Tucker* (tracks: 1-5 to 1-8, 2-17 to 2-22), Johnny Otis (tracks: 1-9 to 1-12), Lyndall Marshall (tracks: 1-17 to 2-4, 2-10 to 2-12), Roy Haynes (tracks: 2-5 to 2-9), Tiny Kahn (tracks: 2-13 to 2-16)
Guitar – Chuck Wayne (tracks: 2-13 to 2-16), Dave Barbour (tracks: 2-17 to 2-22), Fred Lacey (tracks: 1-17 to 2-9), Irving Ashby (tracks: 1-13 to 1-16), Nasir Barakaat (tracks: 2-10 to 2-12)
Liner Notes [from 1975 issue] – Leonard Feather
Photography By [Vic Dickerson, Roy Haynes] – Francis Wolff
Piano – Argonne Thornton (tracks: 1-17 to 2-12), Dodo Marmarosa (tracks: 1-5 to 1-8), Gene DiNovi (tracks: 2-13 to 2-16), Jimmy Bunn (tracks: 2-17 to 2-22), Joe Albany (tracks: 1-13 to 1-16), Nat Cole (tracks: 1-1 to 1-4), Wesly Jones* (tracks: 1-9 to 1-12)
Tenor Saxophone – Lester Young
Trombone – Vic Dickenson (tracks: 1-5 to 1-12)
Trumpet – Howard McGhee (tracks: 1-9 to 1-12), Shorty McConnell (tracks: 1-17 to 2-12)
Vocals – Helen Humes (tracks: 2-18 to 2-22)


Label: Blue Note – CDP 7243 8 32787 2 5
Format: 2 x CD, Compilation
Released: 1995
Genre: Jazz
Style: Swing