William P. Gottlieb, Portrait of Lester Young, Famous Door, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1946. William P. Gottlieb Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
Today marks the 109th birthday of tenor saxophonist Lester Young, the first so-called modernist instrumental stylist in jazz. His playing and hip, creative use of musician’s jargon is admired for breaking from the prevailing saxophone style of Coleman Hawkins. In his classic recordings with Count Basie’s Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and others, he demonstrated a nuanced, sophisticated way of navigating chord changes with a “cool” (as opposed to “hot”) approach that paved the way for Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and generations since.
There is a remarkable, rare recording of Lester Young in the Library’s collection from a jam session possibly recorded in December of 1940, possibly at the Village Vanguard with Young, Shad Collins, J.C. Higginbotham, Sammy Price and Harold “Doc” West. Here is an article on the discovery from the LC Gazette in May of 2006. It even made NPR’s Weekend Edition.
So far, no one has cleared rights to issue the recording. The entire jam session can be heard in the Recorded Sound Reference Center and listening appointments can be made at [email protected].
The following is a guest blog by Andrew N. White III, a participant in the Library’s DC Jazz Project, a component of the 2016-2017 Library of Congress Jazz Scholars program. This program is made possible by the Reva and David Logan Foundation. White delivered a lecture-recital at the Library on November 3, 2016 (a video […]
The following is a guest post from Avery Boddie, an intern in the Music Division’s Concert Office. He holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Maryland and is pursuing a master’s in library science this fall. Next Friday, May 29th, the Library of Congress closes its 2014-15 concert season with jazz […]
Today we remember the birthday of one of bebop’s pioneers, captured in a classic portrait by photographer William P. Gottlieb. Drummer Max Roach was born on January 10, 1924 in North Carolina. He was not only a pioneer of the new form but was active in the Civil Rights movement with his We Insist! Max […]
Every other Friday the Music Division releases a batch of photos from the William P. Gottlieb Collection to Flickr Commons. This week’s release includes portraits of musical legends like Frank Sinatra, Billy Strayhorn, Sarah Vaughan, and Billy Taylor, whose collection resides in the Music Division. You can also view a gathering of Smiths, including violinist Stuff, alto […]
Every other Friday, a new batch of photos from the William P. Gottlieb collection is uploaded to Flickr. This week’s selection includes iconic photos of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, and portraits of jazz greats such as Errol Garner, Benny Goodman, and Lionel Hampton. But in addition to the well-known names are intriguing portraits of lesser- […]
Today, as will happen every other Friday for the next several months, additional batches of photographs from the William P. Gottlieb Collection have been uploaded to Flickr . This week’s set is particularly varied, with classic portraits of Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Tommy Dorsey, Doris Day, Nat “King” Cole, and Perry Como. In addition to these portraits are […]
In the Muse does not ordinarily send two missives into the blogosphere in a single day, but we could not let the day pass without honoring the man playing trumpet on the banner that heads every page of this blog. Jazz legend Louis Armstrong was born on this day in 1901. His influence can be […]
William P. Gottlieb (1917-2006) is one of the most celebrated jazz photographers. His iconic images documenting the great stylists and innovators in American jazz and popular music have been studied and reproduced for generations, and his collection of photographs is one of the Library’s great treasures. The Music Division is now pleased to announce the […]
Today we remember the July birthdays of two very different musical luminaries represented in the Music Division’s august coffers. Ernest Bloch was born July 24th, 1880. A special performance of his viola suite was given on December 10th, 2009, in the Coolidge Auditorium by violist Roberto Diaz and pianist Andrew Tyson to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary […]