This fascinating release comprises live recordings made at the end of 1956, when Miles accepted an offer to tour Europe with a formation called the Birdland All Stars, which also included Lester Young and the Modern Jazz Quartet, along with European musicians such as pianist René Urtréger, bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Christian Garros. We have here the one and only existing evidence of Miles playing with Lester Young and with the MJQ. It also presents a rare occasion to find Miles playing as the sole horn in a quartet format.
Defying what has become conventional wisdom, tenor saxophonist Lester Young cut some of his greatest recordings in the 1950s – that is, when he was reasonably healthy. On this wonderful effort with pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer J.C. Heard, Prez performs definitive versions of "Just You, Just Me" and "Tea for Two," and plays a string of concise but memorable ballad renditions: "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Almost Like Being in Love," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "I'm Confessin'." This is essential music from a jazz legend. Some reissues augment the original dozen songs with a version of the good-humored "It Takes Two to Tango," which features Young's only recorded vocals, plus a rather unnecessary false start (on "I Can't Get Started," ironically), along with some studio chatter.
This release presents the complete original Verve LP "Going for Myself" reuniting Lester Young and Harry “Sweets” Edison, one Pres’ last studio albums ever. Backing Pres and Sweets are superb musicians like Oscar Peterson, Louie Bellson and Herb Ellis. Five extra tracks have been added to the contents of the original album, including three alternate takes and two tunes not included on the originally issued set.
Dave Pell's Prez Conference was to Lester Young what Supersax is to Charlie Parker. Pell's short-lived group featured harmonized Lester Young solos recreated by three tenors and a baritone; their matchup with singer Joe Williams is quite enjoyable. Since Young was in Count Basie's orchestra when Jimmy Rushing was the vocalist, Joe Williams has a rare opportunity to give his own interpretation to Rushing and Billie Holiday classics like "I May Be Wrong," "You Can Depend on Me," "If Dreams Come True" and "Easy Living." A delightful and swinging date.