“Lester Young has had one of the strongest effects on other tenor saxophone players – both in technique and in sound, his sound being dry and sophisticated. But always as you can hear swinging.” – From the back cover of ‘Pres’ a 1952 release on Clef
Swing, that’s what Lester Young is all about; even after the traumatic experience of being drafted into the army, the subsequent harsh treatment he received and by this time his failing health could not take the swing away from Pres. This album has the bonus of Teddy Wilson’s beautiful, subtle, swing piano playing; it reunites the two men who had recorded twenty years earlier with Billie Holiday.
Pres & Teddy is a set of wonderful swing standards that’s a joy and it has sometimes been overlooked because it was recorded at the twilight of Young’s career; it is, however, one of the best albums that Granz ever produced. Aside from the emotional intensity of Young’s playing the pairing with Wilson was inspired. Wilson had only recently returned to playing more frequently having been teaching at the Julliard School