Billie Holiday often stated that she styled her vocal phrasing to echo the sound of a jazz horn, so it should be no surprise that she found the perfect duet partner in tenor sax player Lester Young. Lady Day and Pres (they bestowed the nicknames on each other) recorded some 60 sides together between 1937 and 1946, many if not all of which have to be considered classics. This three-disc set collects everything the pair did, including alternate takes, and the best tracks are truly revelatory. Given the obvious musical connection on display in these sides, it is telling that both Holiday and Young died only four months apart in 1959. Apparently the world just couldn't handle one without the other.
They weren't joined at the hip, yet Chet Atkins and Les Paul were far closer than many realize. Chet's half-brother Jimmy Atkins played rhythm guitar in the Les Paul Trio in the '40s. Both Chet and Les's playing reflected Belgian Gypsy jazz virtuoso Django Reinhardt's influence. They not only created records of monumental importance to guitarists in all genres, but their signature model electric instruments advanced guitar technology. ~ Amazon
Chester & Lester is a collaborative album by guitarists Chet Atkins and Les Paul released in 1976.
It was recorded in the mid-1970s when Chet was in his fifties and Les in his sixties. Chet coaxed Les out of his decade-long retirement for this recording. The liner notes state there is very little overdubbing and the majority of the album was live in the studio.
Chester & Lester peaked at No. 11 on Billboard's Country album chart and No. 172 on the Pop album chart. It peaked at No. 27 on the Country chart again in 1978. At the Grammy Awards of 1976, Chester & Lester won the Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance.
One of the finest pianists of the bop era, Dodo Marmarosa's career was cut short by mental illness. He playeed locally at first and then made strong contributions to the orchestras of Gene Krupa (1942-1943), Tommy Dorsey (1944), Charlie Barnet (taking the opening piano solo on the hit "Skyliner"), and Artie Shaw (playing with his Gramercy Five). Marmarosa was often teamed with Barney Kessel (with whom he had been with Barnet and Shaw) and both settled in Los Angeles by 1946. Marmarosa recorded with Boyd Raeburn and Lester Young, became the house pianist for the Atomic label, made an important session with Charlie Parker in 1947 (which resulted in "Relaxin' in Camarillo"), and worked with his trio. But after a Savoy date in 1950, nothing was heard from him for a decade. Mamarosa resurfaced in Chicago during 1961-1962 to record two trio outings and a session with Gene Ammons (for Argo and Prestige) but then he disappeared, permanently retiring in Pittsburgh.