Young, Lester

Young, Lester (Willis) “Prez”

(1909–59) jazz musician; born in Woodville, Miss. He was an innovative tenor saxophonist who inspired the bebop movement and a new school of saxophone playing. After extensive sideman work, he gained prominence with Count Basie from 1936 to 1940 and appeared on numerous recordings with Billie Holiday. He led his own groups thereafter, but his later performances were markedly diminished by his alcoholism.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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