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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Perfect, Feb. 17 2004
By 
Tony Thomas (West Palm Beach Florida USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 1956: Jazz Giants (Audio CD)
There are not many cuts on this CD, but this is worth it. It is a rare occaision, a group of contest winners, who happen to jibe together as a real functing band who work well together because their past experience of working together and current styles mesh. They create some great music like a band that had practiced together for years.
About 20 years ago a friend of mine found the LP version of this in a thrift store in Los Angeles. When I visited and he played the opening selection I think I'm going to Change My plans, it was one of the most beautiful tasteful and wonderful things I have ever heard. I still go by that. There is something magnificent about that cut that makes me wonder why I don't just play it all day every day, something I did do, once I got a CD player about 12 years ago and got this CD. It is that good.
What works here is that Lester is recorded with a set of SWING musicians who have the same approach to time and variation that he had, although Lester is obviously the master here. In fact, this recording was always one that people like Buck Clayton and other Old Testament Basie survivors pointed to as proof that none of Lester's skills had declined in the 1950s, he just needed a rhythm section like the one here composed of Teddy Wilson (with whom he recorded scores of records for Billie Holiday in the 30s, and his former Basie band mates Freddie Greene and Jo Jones and Gene Ramey who is of the same generation of Southwestern Swing as Lester and Basie.
Vic Dickenson really shines here. Smooth and cremey hot and swinging. It is unfortunate that very few people these days understand the greatness of Little Jazz, Mr. Roy Eldrige whose trumpet provides the necessary contrast to Lester's great sax playing. By 1956 Roy had been appearing with Lester and sometimes with Dickenson for years in Jazz at the Philharmonic's great jams. Listening to these cuts will help you want to hear more of him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lester, "Pres" for the friends, Aug. 22 2001
By 
JEAN-MARIE JUIF (BESANCON France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 1956: Jazz Giants (Audio CD)
Lester Young.What more can I say ? He was the most incredible jazz player of all times. The king of tenor saxophone.He recorded this session in 1956,three years before his death,with some outstanding companions : Teddy Wilson,Vic Dickenson,Roy Eldridge,Freddie Greene,Gene Ramey and Jo Jones.What a hall of fame!!Just listen to the magnificent version of "I'll guess I'll have to change my plan",a tune rarely recorded.This is some of the greatest Lester, a real masterpiece; for Lester's playing,but also for Teddy Wilson,Jo Jones,and for an amazing Roy Eldridge.I guess you'll play this tune for hours.Roy 's solo on this tune ranks among the greatest things ever done on a trumpet.The four other tunes are very great moments of music too: Lester's improvisations on "I didn't know what time it was" or "this year's kisses",a tune he recorded with Billie Holiday some 20 years before.The Jazz Giants is a good title: noone will ever play that way.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Straight ahead Ballads and Blues w/ seriously mellow groove!, Sept. 20 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: 1956: Jazz Giants (Audio CD)
You can't go wrong with this CD. With Lester Young, the listener always knows what he/she is getting: soft, silky yet full bodied sax with a heavy groove. It is one of THE classic, late night mellow mood pieces. Many of the songs contain wonderful trumpet and piano solos, adding a truly majestic depth to the music. This is a great place to start a jazz collection; also consider Stan Getz (or Lester Young) with the Oscar Peterson trio. Finally, if you want to get addicted to jazz, please consider the all time classic by Zoot Simms and Joe Pass: "Blues For Two".
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1956: Jazz Giants
1956: Jazz Giants by Lester Young (Audio CD - 1991)
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