Young, Lester (Willis)

Young, Lester (Willis)

biographical name


Lester Young, c. 1955.—Reprinted with permission of Down Beat magazine

(born Aug. 27, 1909, Woodville, Miss., U.S.—died March 15, 1959, New York, N.Y.) U.S. tenor saxophonist. Young joined Count Basie's band in 1936 and was recognized as a major new stylist on the instrument. His small-group recordings from the late 1930s with Basie and vocalist Billie Holiday are classics. He was nicknamed Prez by Holiday (short for “President of the saxophone”). Young's subtle harmonies and unconventional rhythmic independence influenced both bebop and cool-jazz musicians; his gentle tone and ethereal lyricism inspired an entire school of jazz saxophone playing.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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