Lester Young was among the first jazz pioneers, a tenor saxophone player who came to the forefront during the late '20s by playing jazz for a new generation and making it his own. A talented saxophone player who played with jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, and John Coltrane, Young also had a long list of jazz records played throughout his life.
Young's career spanned many decades but in his later years he focused on jazz. During his early years he was an influential saxophone player who influenced many other saxophone players in the jazz scene including Duke Ellington and Joe Turner. Many consider Young as the quintessential jazz musician because of his unique style, a combination of high notes and clean playing.
Young's music can be best described as being a mixture of free jazz, blues, rockabilly and country styles along with influences of Indian music and classical music. His jazz recordings are among some of the most popular and valuable of all time.
Although he did not invent jazz, Lester Young did take a revolutionary approach to the genre that made him a favorite with critics and fans alike. He was not a traditionalist or a purist when it came to jazz. In fact, he would often change his style of playing according to the material he was playing. This is similar to how rock and roll musicians would change their sound for each song they played.
His style was an important part of his improvisational approach to the music. He played jazz with an emphasis on jazz phrasing, timing, and phrasing techniques. His technique was very fast and fluid yet was not overly technical and his solos were well structured. The sound of his voice was also dynamic and varied.
Jazz music was very experimental during his time. Young used unusual combinations of chord progressions, chromatic scales, and rhythm changes to create his own signature sound. Some of these sounds were heard on several of his jazz records including "Mystery Train," "Although Lester Young did not invent the jazz style of guitar playing, he was instrumental in helping to popularize it by recording songs with many of the great jazz performers of his day. These include Count Basie, Jaco Pastorius, Jimmy Cobb, Herbie Hancock, Louis Collins, Sidney Bechet, and others.
Music from Lester Young's recordings are still heard today on the radio and CD. He is a living example of a great jazz musician who changed the way people thought about jazz.
In the late twenties and early thirties, Lester Lee performed with the band called the Kingfish. During this period, he was also an important member of what is known as the Jelly Roll Morton Jazz Band. Young was also a member of several famous groups of the era including The Four Tops, The Royal Family, The Blue Note Boys, and The Hot Five.
In addition to his musical influences, Young was also an influential player of the blues and rockabilly revival style. He was also very involved with other forms of jazz, as well as he was a member of such bands as The Blue Moon Unit and his band with Jaco Pastorius called the Kingfish.
Lester was very open about his drug use and was heavily involved with black liberation movements. During the 1930s he was arrested for a series of arrests for marijuana possession and was even imprisoned for a time. He was also deeply involved in the civil rights movement.
Lester was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from High School in 1931. He worked as a janitor and in the construction industry before becoming a musician. He started playing the saxophone when he was thirty years old.
He played in a few groups of his own before joining a band called the Kingfish. During this time he recorded "Mystery Train." His musical influences were influenced by such famous musicians as Bill Haley, Fats Domino, John Coltrane, and Louis Armstrong.