Great Solos: Lester Young, “Sometimes I’m Happy”

An Occasional Series The tenor saxophonist recorded this masterpiece in 1943 with pianist Johnny Guarnieri, bassist Slam Stewart and drummer Sid Catlett. He had rejoined Count Basie in high spirits. They were to be dashed the following year when he was drafted into a depressing Army experience, but this is the buoyant pre-war Lester. Prez's final 12 bars made such an impression on Oscar Peterson that he almost never played "Sometimes I'm Happy" without quoting them at the end. Peterson was far … [Read more...]

Compatible Quotes: Lester Young

Well, the way I play, I try not to be a 'repeater pencil', ya dig? Originality's the thing. You can have tone and technique and a lot of other things but without originality you ain't really nowhere. Gotta be original.—Lester Young When Lester plays, he almost seems to be singing; one can almost hear the words.—Billie Holiday In some ways Lester Young is the most complex rhythmically of any musician. He does some things which are just phenomenal.—Lee Konitz Anyone who doesn't … [Read more...]