Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lester Young & Harry Edison - Going For Myself

This was one of Lester Young's last studio albums and - like the final recordings of his great friend, Billie Holiday - there is a striking poignancy about them. Lester was already a sick man, and when these recordings were made in 1957 and 1958, his days were already numbered. He died in 1959, and this album was released after his death. The original LP contained only the first six tracks but Lonehill has added two recordings made at the original sessions (the Ballad Medley and Perdido) plus three alternate takes.
When Ralph Gleason reviewed the LP for Down Beat magazine, he gave it five stars even though he admitted that "I can't stomach the disintegration I hear". The signs of disintegration are plain to hear: Lester's shortness of breath and the way that he ends some tracks unexpectedly - doubtless because he lacked the stamina to continue. The alternate take of Perdido even cuts off before it is finished. And most of the tempos are slowish, for obvious reasons.
Despite the evident drawbacks, Lester still manages to tug at your heart with his fragile, faltering sound and the album is worth getting just for the passages where one can glimpse Lester's lustre still glowing. These parts are more numerous than you might expect. His mellow tone and understated invention are still here. At the end of the final track, Lester closes with an assertive upward twist, as though almost defiantly holding up two fingers to the world which had treated him so cruelly.
The recordings team him with the more sprightly-sounding Harry Edison, swinging as implacably as ever - and still using those clichés which I have noted in earlier reviews. Both Edison and Young prove that less is more: leaving plenty of space in their solos. Forget those note-mongers who cram every bar with as many notes as they can: these two men knew the value of leaving the listener with air to breathe.
The rhythm section on six of the tracks is basically the Oscar Peterson Trio, recalling happy memories of earlier sessions when Oscar accompanied Lester in Norman Granz's productions of such numbers as The Astaire Blues. Both rhythm sections produce a comfortable cushion for Young and Edison to relax on.
Lester Young was renowned as tenor-saxist but he also occasionally played the clarinet (at one time impressing Benny Goodman so much that he was presented with Benny's own instrument). He plays clarinet on the two takes of St Tropez, starting by sounding as breathy as Ben Webster but soon taking to the heights of the clarinet - very like Buddy De Franco. Some of his tenor-sax playing is also very breathy.
This is an album where the listener has to make allowances for Lester Young's afflictions but, if you can make those allowances, there is much to savour here.
Tony Augarde

Source :

Lester Young 
Harry Edison
Going For Myself


1. Flic (Young, Peterson, Edison) 6:16
2. Love is Here to Stay () 5:53
3. St Tropez (Young, Peterson, Edison) 10:05
4. Waldorf Blues (Young - based on "Jeepers Creepers") 8:19
5. Sunday (Coots, Grey) 6:55
6. You're Getting to be a Habit with Me (Dubin, Warren) 5:20
7. Ballad Medley :
A Ghost of a Chance (Young, Washington, Crosby) / I Cover the Waterfront (Green, Heyman) 5:51
8. Perdido (Tizol) 6:14
9. St Tropez
[alternate take] (Young, Peterson, Edison) 6:55
10. You're Getting to be a Habit With Me
[alternate take] (Dubin, Warren) 7:43
11. Waldorf Blues
[alternate take] (Young - based on "Jeepers Creepers") 6:16


[# 1-3 & 7-9]

Lester Young - ts & cl [# 3 & 9]
Harry "Sweets" Edison - tp
Oscar Peterson - p
Herb Ellis - g
Ray Brown - b
Louie Bellson - dr
Recorded in Hollywood ; July 31, 1957.
[# 4-6 & 10-11]

Lester Young - ts
Harry "Sweets" Edison - tp
Lou Stein - p
Herb Ellis - g
Ray Brown - b
Mickey Sheen - dr
Recorded in New York ; February 7, 1958.

This release presents the complete original Verve LP "Going for Myself" reuniting Lester Young and Harry “Sweets” Edison, one Pres’ last studio albums ever. Backing Pres and Sweets are superb musicians like Oscar Peterson, Louie Bellson and Herb Ellis. Five extra tracks have been added to the contents of the original album, including three alternate takes and two tunes not included on the originally issued set.
Lester Young’s final years weren’t easy. His poor health and alcoholism began to limit his talents and even his capacity to play. The sessions included here were two of his last studio dates ever. After the second one, he would only enter the studio on two other occasions: the following day, on February 8, 1958, with Harry Edison again, and with Roy Eldridge added (the results of this session were included on the posthumous album Laughin’ to Keep from Cryin’) and a year later, on March 2, 1959, in Paris, France. Lester would die one week later on March 15, 1959, at the age of 49. The original album contained six tunes (tracks 1-6 of our CD), but more material was recorded on the two sessions, including two new tunes that weren’t issued on Going for Myself (a nice ballad medley and a nearly complete version of “Perdido”) and four alternate takes. To complement our set, we have added the two aforementioned new tunes, and three of the existing alternates.

Source :


LaroSwing said...

Thank you for this very nice post!

rm said...

merci beaucoup

deGallo said...

Great post. Thank you M.

El Tortuga said...

part 2 is at least as wonderful as one could expect it to be from such nice musicians. (i love "sweets"!)unhappily part 1 is broken and after 4 hours waiting for the complete download do not really feel like trying it again. in my opinion RS is a bad choice but you may have your good reasons. anyway thank you so much Mel for a wonderful 1/2 a record. even the half of it was worth wayting! great music and a great and generous work of yours this blog. thanx!

The Jackal said...

Dear Mel,

Thanks for completing the the Lester picture didn't know his clarinet story

duck said...

Many thanks again Mel, all great music, BTW I never ever have troubles with RS.

Orbyt said...

C'est fantastique ! Merci Mel.

rubberduck said...

Prez will be always on top of my preference.

I have all on LP , so many thanks MEL

reincidente said...

Hola, me figuran caídos los links. Por favor te pido si los podés revisar. Muchísimas gracias.

Chestro said...

wow, thanks for this

Melanchthon said...

Frasco said...

Excellent, superbe, merveilleux!
J'avais quelques pieces mais pas le tableau entier. Merci!

Jorge Rubén Sosa said...

Buen día Mel: ¿podrías cargar nuevamente el link?
Figura como "denegado".
Saludos desde la Patagonia.

Good morning Mel: reloaded could link?
Listed as "denied".
Greetings from Patagonia.

jazzfan1 said...

Any chance for a re-up of this, Mel?