Lester Willis Young

Young, Lester Willis, 1909–59, American jazz musician, b. Woodville, Miss. He played the tenor saxophone with various bands (1929–40), including those of Fletcher Henderson and Count Basie, with whom he first recorded in 1936. Young and Coleman Hawkins are considered the major influences on tenor-saxophone playing, and Young's style was important in the development of progressive, or cool, jazz, which arose in the late 1940s. He won several jazz polls and made a number of records, including a series with Billie Holiday, who gave him his nickname, "President," later shortened to "Pres" or "Prez."

See biography by D. Gelly (2007).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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