Lester Young and Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison ‘Going For Myself’ (Poll Winners Records) 4/5

This release, a Verve Original LP from 1958, is noteworthy as it was lester Young’s last studio recording and therefore is an important historical document, especially since he is surrounded here by a crack formation. An all-star line-up features Oscar Peterson on piano, Herb Ellis on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and Louis Bellson on drums. On five of the numbers (including three alternate takes) Lou Stein alterantes with Oscar Peterson and drummer Mickey Sheen for Louis Bellson. The two separate sessions date from July 1957 and February 1958 and are essentially a classy selections of standards with three originals, two co-written by Young and Peterson and Edison. What is striking in these sessions is that Lester Young’s tenor sound is as warm as ever with outstanding interpretations of the Juan Tizol number ‘Perdido’, the Gershwin brothers’ ‘Love is here to stay’ while the original ‘Flic’ (French for ‘Cop’) is a fine piece. The Hollywood and New York recording settings does not contrast unduly and the two formations compliment one another. At just under seventy-six minutes this represents excellent value for money and needless to say the music itself is timeless. Original sleeve notes and Down Beat review.

Tim Stenhouse