How Did Lester Young Influence Jazz

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Jazz is a popular style of music that emerged around the late 1800s in New Orleans, a city of great ethnic diversity and unique musical styles. Jazz music, throughout history, had the capability to bridge racial difference by bringing people of different backgrounds together to share in the common interests of listening to jazz. Many of the early most prominent jazz musicians, like Lester Young, were able to bring their own unique styles and improvisations to the development of jazz, to help mold it into what we hear today. Lester Young was an American jazz saxophonist who has made his mark in jazz culture by expressing his distinctive improvisations, compositions, and originality in every musical note he played which helped change the art form of jazz.
Lester Willis
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William “Count” Basie was a pianist and bandleader who is still viewed today as “an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of jazz” (Bluenote). Lester Young brought a new approach to jazz while performing in the big band. He was known for his soft and light tone, bringing a new and fresh swing feeling to jazz alongside his melodic improvisations. Young not only separated himself from several other notable musicians in the way he held his saxophone but through his various ways of phrasing while playing. Instead of driving it forward and playing on the beat, similar to the influential tenor saxophonist, Coleman Hawkins, Young held it back bringing a more relaxed feeling to it. American jazz vocalist and songwriter, Billie Holiday, recognized Young’s great talent and therefore nicknamed him “The Prez”, the president of the tenor saxophone. Lester Young released his first recording “Oh, Lady Be Good” with Count Basie on October 9, 1936. However, in December 1940, Young left the Count Basie Orchestra to officially form his own

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