Happy Birthday, Pres!
Lester Young, August 27, 1909-March 15, 1959
(nicknamed “Pres” [or “Prez”] by Billie Holiday, who called him the “president of tenor saxophonists”)
Who else is at once so earthy and so ethereal?
Jammin’ the Blues (1944)
On Lester Young
One of my favorite radio stations, WKCR-FM (based at Columbia University and available on-line), is celebrating Pres’s birthday in the best possible way—playing his music all day. (Actually, they’re playing his music for 36 hours straight, until the middle of the day tomorrow, when they’ll begin playing the music of Charlie Parker, whose birthday is Sunday, for the next 36 hours.)