Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Personal Mount Rushmore

All roads for me lead back to Lester Young, who figures very prominently in the recorded works of my personal Mount Rushmore:

It does not hurt that one of my favorite drummers is featured on many of the recorded works by the above artists: Papa Jo Jones. In fact, if ever you decide to read Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones, the experience will be greatly enhanced by having these sets on hand and playing in the background.

From left to right:

Lester Young: Portrait

This 10-CD set has it all: Lester's accompaniment with Billie, Teddy Wilson, Basie, the Great American Rhythm Section comprised of Papa Jo Jones, Walter Page and Freddie Green, etc.

The next set is Basie: Big Band Leader.

If you click either on the link above or the box set image you will be taken to my post that discusses it in detail.

Like the Basie set, I have a post here about Billie's set: Billie on my mind. That post covers the CD set in depth and adds some depth to an earlier post I wrote titled Lester Young & Billie Holiday: The Krishna and Radha of jazz. I am listening to discs from this set as I write this entry.

The final set is some of the best recordings of a member of my personal holy trinity of pianists: Teddy Wilson: Jumping for Joy

There are three pianists who top my list, in admiration of their playing and the amount of time I spend listening to them: Teddy Wilson, Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. Of the three, I probably spend more time listening to Teddy, but that is as much because of why he is backing on a particular song as it is his playing.

This set not only features Teddy in a number of musician settings and ensembles, but Teddy backing Lady Day (Billie Holiday), playing with Lester Young, with Benny Goodman's smaller ensembles, and some big band work. The selections in this set span 1934-1946.

Teddy was prolific in the studio, and was the band leader for Billie's early recordings, most of which are in this set, especially on CD 1. Since there is no track listening here, the best way to describe this set is to provide a track listing for each CD. Those who know who Teddy is can expect the same silvery touch on his keys on every selection, but knowing what is in the set is important. The discs appear to be chronological, which is a major improvement over most box sets, which are too often a hodge-podge. For the listing go to this page and see my review and the comments to the review for what is in the set.

For me all roads also lead to Karen I. Karr in whose memory this is dedicated.

No comments: