Considered one of the most influential saxophonists in history, Lester “Prez” Young succeeded Coleman Hawkins at the height of the swing era.

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He’s backed by his quintet on the piece, as he plays over the standard 12 bar blues. But much like his famous predecessor’s breakthrough recordings, the song lacks a clear lead melody, giving way to improvisational piano, and, of course, that sax.

Young got his nickname from Billie Holiday. It was Young who gave Billie her famous “Lady Day” moniker. She returned the favor, dubbing him “Prez”… as in the president of all saxophonists. And you’ll get no argument from us.

This episode was written in part by Syracuse University student Brent Kelley, as part of the Sound Beat Class Partnership project. To learn more about the Partnership, click here!