On This Date in Music History: Lester Young Born


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On August 27, 1909, 100 years ago, Lester Young one of the true jazz giants, a tenor saxophonist, was born. Lester Young was the major influence on a generation of tenor saxophonists who preferred his relatively light, pure tone and agile swing to the husky heaviness of the once-dominant Coleman Hawkins.

“Although he spent his earliest days near New Orleans, Lester Young lived in Minneapolis by 1920, playing in a legendary family band. Because he refused to tour in the South, Young left home in 1927 and instead toured with Art Bronson's Bostonians, He was back with the family band in 1929 and then freelanced for a few years, playing with Walter Page's Blue Devils (1930), Eddie Barefield in 1931, back with the Blue Devils during 1932-1933, and Bennie Moten and Joseph "King" Oliver (both 1933).

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