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Lester Young: Presidential Record

Eugene DeAnna, head of the Recorded Sound Section at the Library of Congress, displays the 16-inch lacquer disc labeled "Jam Session, December 29, 1940," which is a never-released original recording of saxophonist Lester Young and a band improvising in an

The records themselves look unimpressive: A set of old black 16-inch lacquered discs with yellowed labels and dusty faces aged from years in storage. The sound on the discs, on the other hand, is unmistakable: A rich tenor saxophone lightly fluttering above a blitz of horns, piano and drums. There’s no doubt about it: It’s gotta be Pres.

The Library of Congress recently announced that it has unearthed an extremely rare live recording of legendary saxophonist Lester Young from 1940. The recording provides a glimpse into Young’s playing at a pivotal (and little documented) point in his musical development, between his late 1930s work with Count Basie and his years in the army.

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