Lester Young (Musique) (French Edition)
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They were introduced and fell in love. He also fell in love with Paris; with its smells of coffee and cologne, and with the freedom it offered. Davis wasn't the only black American musician who fell for the charms of Paris, and some like the drummer Kenny Clarke decided to stay in France rather than return to a harsher life in the US. But back home, Davis had a partner and two young children.
But back in America, jazz was in crisis, with clubs closing down and gigs becoming harder to find. It would take him four years to kick the habit. In , a cleaned-up Davis returned to Paris for the start of a European tour featuring the Birdland All Stars Birdland was a top New York jazz club, and other artists on the tour included saxophonist Lester Young and pianist Bud Powell.
s in jazz - Wikipedia
Davis played with a French rhythm trio that included Urtreger: "The s were a golden age for jazz in France," says Urtreger. The following year, he returned to Paris for another tour and was joined again by Urtreger. Around the same time, Davis was asked by French director Louis Malle to compose the soundtrack to the film noir Ascenseur pour l'Echafaud Lift to the Scaffold. The soundtrack, consisting of improvised music played by Davis, Urtreger and others, was a huge success.
Davis regularly returned to Paris throughout the rest of his life.
John Hammond. So Jo Jones used nothing but a snare drum and a hi-hat. The situation was entirely new to Lester, Jo, and Smith; here they were about to record for the first time, when only that morning at eight o'clock they had been sipping coffee, recording being the last thing on their minds: "Basie's face was full of energy and conveyed his enthusiasm. Walter maintained his self-assurance, Jimmy too. Tatti was quiet but active; Lester was thrilled, Jo was generous and bossy" John Hammond.
In three hours from A. The discographies of Count Basie and Lester Young give October 9, , as the date of this recording session, but it was really November 9, for the engagement at the Grand Terrace had begun on November 6. Hammond, Young, and Jones also confirmed that the recording took place then. At the end of September and beginning of October, Young was in California and Basie was in Kansas City, making preparations for the upcoming tour. But two contradictory pieces of information do remain: Lewis Porter claims the Chicago Defender referred in its news columns to a visit made by Basie to Chicago in September of , and a few years later, Jo Jones "thought" he remembered that the session had taken place on his birthday, i.
At that time, there were several Hawkins records on the market, and practically all the saxophonists knew the solo parts by heart. When Lester's recording went into circulation two months later, everyone — except those in his entourage — expected to see more of the musical standards set by "Bean. The recording contains two major pieces: a highly original version of Gershwin's "Lady Be Good" done in the key of D, and the famous "Shoe Shine Boy," where Lester's chorus is considered by many to be one of the best of his career and one which highlights Lester's originality: First, there are the liberties he takes with the standard four-beat measure.
He never ceases to accentuate it at his discretion, sometimes placing the stress slightly ahead of or behind the beat. Then there is the rhythmic accompaniment generated by his very style. The rhythm section guarantees a kind of steady, supple, and continuous breathing effect, with neither interruptions nor special effects. Then he lays out his own rhythmic and melodic ideas on the soft carpeting that has been rolled out for him. Later, when the full Basie orchestra made recordings, it became more apparent how Lester's style and the aerial effects it created were cradled by Jo Jones' technique.
Lester Young Quintet
Jones' use of cymbals to mark the beat instead of the bass drum as before created a lightness that had not existed until then in the rhythm section, and which was itself driven by the style of Lester Young. One could speak in this regard of a veritable "Lester Young Effect," and its impact was immediate. Lester had broken once and for all with the powerful, turbulent "tidal wave" phrases of Coleman Hawkins. Here, in fact, was a musician more inclined toward simplicity and the restructuring of melody than toward the quest for complex harmonies.
This was someone who played more readily by scale than by chord; someone who didn't systematically base his improvisations on harmony, but on fresh interpretations of a single melody. And so in the process of reusing old material, Lester never ceased revisiting both his immediate, and distant, musical past, where Hawkins, by contrast, refused to look back.
Let us also point out that, contrary to the popular opinion of the time — which only took notice of Hawkins' panting vibrato — Lester used nothing but an authentic vibrato. It is a discreet vibrato, to be sure, but it is no less there, affecting the height and the rhythm of the notes, especially when these are repeated and such repetition is a Young characteristic. As Andre Hodeir has reminded us, "all the great jazz improvisers have created a sound out of their phrases, and their phrases out of their sound.
At last, to take up a well-known cliche, Lester was a melodic improviser who worked on a "horizontal" plane, whereas Hawkins was the prototypical "vertical" improvisor, who relied on the harmonies of a piece.
Admittedly, it was not the progression of chords that was of principal interest to Lester; he limited himself to tonics, to dominant chords and to their extensions, showing a clear preference for melodic development. Hawkins, by contrast, organized a whole progression that deviated from the chords, including "passing chords," and a few extensions. No sooner did this record appear on the Vocalion-Brunswick label than a passionate debate began to rage. Gene Ramey remembers having heard Parker around the Kansas City nightclubs: "He would get up and play the Prez solos note for note; his alto sounded like the Prez' Bird was so influenced by Young.
And when Bird left to go on tour with Georgie Lee, during the summer of , the first things he packed to take with him were Lester's recordings. But if you don't count Bird and Charlie Christian, Hammond, the Basie musicians, and a few friends, Lester's music received negative ratings in most jazz circles. This didn't prevent Lester from being perfectly sure of his originality; nor did he have any qualms about advertising it.
I had never heard Hawk, other than on a few records. Everybody copied him.
But me, I couldn't imagine myself copying Hawk, or anybody else. You had to have a style that was truly your own. You can't be a stylist if all you do is concentrate on not copying someone. Originality, that's the trick.
You may well possess tone, technique, and a bunch of other things, but if you have no originality, you don't really go anywhere. You have to be original. Retrieved 31 August Archived from the original on 6 February The New York Times , February 1, Archived from the original on 31 January Archived from the original on 28 February Archived from the original on 7 February Archived from the original on 19 January Archived from the original on 20 March Retrieved 3 May How High Is the Sky?
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