Dave Gelly

Dave’s Contributions

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January/February 2008    Features

Count Basie and Lester Young: So Now We’ll Find Out What Happens

In February 1936, when Lester Young joined him at the Reno Club in Kansas City, Bill Basie was 31 years old. Born in Red Bank, New Jersey, he had been a protégé of the great Fats Waller when they were both still teenagers. Indeed, he had literally sat at...

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About Dave Gelly

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Dave Gelly is the jazz critic for The Observer, one of Britain’s leading Sunday papers. He also broadcasts on jazz topics on BBC radio and maintains a parallel career as a tenor saxophonist. Gelly was named Jazz Writer of the Year in the 1999 British Jazz Awards and in 2005 was invested with the MBE by Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of his work.

Unfortunately, Gelly never got the chance to see Lester Young, the subject of his newest book, Being Prez, which is excerpted this month. “Prez only visited England once, in 1953,” he remembers. “I was a teenager and, try as I might, I just couldn’t get a ticket.”

Dave Gelly joined the JazzTimes community on Jan 31, 2008