Happy Prez Day! - JazzWax

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February 20, 2012


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Yeah, Happy Anniversary to the man who changed my (jazz) life.

Here's another magic improvisation, again on the blues:


Lester "Prez" Young, your sound won't be forgotten!


P.S. -- Which "anniversary"? Since Prez means so much to me, every day could easily be a "Lester Young Day".


Steven C.

I wasn't familiar with this fine musician. A "Prez" indeed.


In addition to some fine playing and jitterbugging, the film has some expert lip-syncing. Only the pianist's right-hand is clearly out-of-sync with the music. Nevertheless you can hear Lester's horn playing itself while he takes a breath at 2:24, 2:39 and 4:53. Jacquet's horn has the final word of his solo, playing the last note after he takes it out of his mouth. The drum hand-off is especially impressive, and note how the bass drum goes off by itself as Sid jumps off the stool at 9:13.


Big inspiration! I love The Movie Round Midnight too ...

Fran Morris Rosman

So were any American presidents big jazz fans? Aside from Mr. Clinton that is....he wrote a beautiful letter to Ella that is up here on the wall at the Foundation.
The presidency is sort of rigid...and jazz isn't...


Fran, When Dizzy played at the White House, Jimmy Carter spoke eloquently about how he was inspired by jazz growing up. Of course it may have been his speech-writer who was so inspired, but Jimmy did sing a chorus of "Salt Peanuts" with the band.
Promoter Al Rose claims that Harry Truman sat in with a band that he took to the White House while James P Johnson took advantage of the open bar. He says that Baby Dodds, who was oblivious to the world outside of music, commented afterwords that the little guy who sat in on piano didn't seem to know many tunes.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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