Young, Lester Willis

Young, Lester Willis,

1909–59, American jazz musician, b. Woodville, Miss. He played the tenor saxophone with various bands (1929–40), including those of Fletcher HendersonHenderson, Fletcher
(James Fletcher "Smack" Henderson), 1898–1952, American jazz composer, arranger, and pianist, b. Cuthbert, Ga. Henderson played piano from childhood. Short of funds after coming to New York City in 1920 to study graduate chemistry, he took a job with W.
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 and Count BasieBasie, Count
(William Basie) , 1904–84, American jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer, b. Red Bank, N.J. After working in dance halls and vaudeville in New York City, Basie moved to Kansas City, a major jazz center.
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, with whom he first recorded in 1936. Young and Coleman HawkinsHawkins, Coleman,
1904–69, American jazz musician, b. St. Joseph, Mo. He began playing saxophone at the age of 9. He was part of Fletcher Henderson's band from 1924 until 1934. Hawkins established the tenor saxophone as a major jazz instrument.
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 are considered the major influences on tenor-saxophone playing, and Young's style was important in the development of progressive, or cool, jazz, which arose in the late 1940s. He won several jazz polls and made a number of records, including a series with Billie HolidayHoliday, Billie,
1915–59, American singer, b. Baltimore. Her original name was Eleanora Fagan. She began singing professionally in 1930, and after performing with numerous bands—especially those of Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Count Basie, and Artie Shaw—she
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, who gave him his nickname, "President," later shortened to "Pres" or "Prez."

Bibliography

See biography by D. Gelly (2007).

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