Personnel: Lester Young (tenor saxophone); Teddy Wilson (piano); Gene Ramey (bass); Jo Jones (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York on January 13, 1956. Includes original release liner notes by Bill Simon.
Digitally remastered by Dennis Drake.
Floating over bar lines using a light, airy tone, Lester Young redefined (and refined) the tenor saxophone. A nonconformist, Young's sound soon overshadowed Coleman Hawkins' thicker, more abrasive style. Indeed, Young's approach influenced most of the new wave of saxophonists to come out of the 1950s. On PRES AND TEDDY, we hear Young (nicknamed Pres) teamed up with the great pianist Teddy Wilson, who himself, is one of three definitive swing era pianists (the other two being Earl Hines and Art Tatum).
PRES AND TEDDY is a small group outing that also highlights the talents of bassist Gene Ramey and drummer Jo Jones. This is straight-ahead, no bull jazz that doesn't cross too many stylistic boundaries. Recorded in 1956, tinges of cool jazz color the playing and feel of the record. Still, the band's swing roots shine through, making this release more closely aligned with earlier genres of jazz. Highlights include the medium bounce "Louise" and the bluesy "Pres Returns."