Several new biographies of Lester Young have been published in the years since Lewis Porter's Lester Young first appeared, but none have supplanted or even attempted the in-depth study that Porter brings to his subject's music. With the same care and scholarship that characterized his John Coltrane, Porter analyzes the music that made Lester Young "the most original tenor sax in jazz."
In addition to helping us understand Lester Young's playing and stylistic evolution, Porter's analysis demonstrates that Young's playing at the end of his career did not mark a serious decline over his earlier style, as many critics have claimed.
"A monumental work."
"Lewis Porter has done an extraordinary original treatise on the music of Lester Young and the personality behind that music. There is nothing like it in print, and I am certain that it fills the gaps in the history of the most original tenor sax in jazz."
"It's obviously a labor of love, as was Lester's music. . . a loving look at Lester's life."
". . . an enlightening and provocative view of Young's life and music, and a commendable example of good, critical jazz scholarship coming of age."
—Martin Williams, author of The Jazz Tradition
". . . a major contribution to jazz scholarship . . . for it's illumination of Lester Young's music and for setting the biographical record straight."
—Dan Morgenstern, Director, Institute for Jazz Studies
". . . a schematic of unparalleled insight and detail."
"Awe-inspiring, in the examinations of both his life and his music."
"Porter's great strength is his concentration on the actual music, often dealt with impressionistically by writers on jazz. . . . . The meat of this work not only illustrates but analyses why Young's music is so compelling."
—Brian Priestley, Jazzwise Magazine
". . . for my money this is one of the best books on one of jazz's most essential players and his music. It should be in everyone's collection."