This is a fantastic portrait of one of the most important jazz musicians in history. Lester Young (known as Pres/Prez) was an early tenor saxophonist who came of age in Count Basie's orchestra. In blending power and presence with a cool and sophisticated approach, Young pioneered a free-floating and catchy melodic style that was popular among both musicians and dancers. From his early days to the highlights of his career, this film shows the influence he had, not just on his peers but on the later generations, from Stan Getz to Charlie Parker and, thus, the advent of bebop.
The South Bank Show was a British magazine show that explored the artistic wonders of the moment in central London on the famous Southern bank of the Thames river. Hosted by the great Melvyn Bragg, this episode was entitled "Prez – A New Jazz Opera" and made use of contemporary musicians, speakers and incredible archive material to built a bridge between the years and bring back this giant of popular jazz in the first half of the 20th Century. Find out about the "When Prez is blowin' his horn" ... few ever did it better.
A marvellous 1960 film recorded by Jean-Christo...
Sonuma Archives 1981