Posted by: lesterlives | August 7, 2017

Newport 1957-2017

I went to the Newport Jazz Festival yesterday with my friend Gabe. He was stoked to hear and see “the Roots.”  As I was walking to get in line to for Vernon Reid, I spotted this man wearing a Lester Young T-shirt. I was excited to see someone representing Pres. Ralph with the shirt told me “when people see the shirt they usually say, Nice Coleman Hawkins Shirt.” Close but not the man whose tone Geoff Dyer describes in But Beautiful as, “like a stole wrapped around bare shoulders, weighing nothing.” Last time Pres was in Newport was July 7, 1957, I love this Bob Parent photo of Lester on the fairgrounds. In Paris just a few months later Lester was playing the recording of the concert in his hotel room when François Postif spoke w/ him.

Postif: Did you enjoy your last recording with the Count in, uh, Newport? You know, It’s just published—It’s just released in France today. [pause]. You know, when you blow “Lester Leaps In”—you blow mad.

Young: I’ve got it right here, I’ve been playing it all day. [he had been playing it on his little portable record player while waiting for Postif to arrive.—Ed]. Nice eyes. Oh, I mean I always bust my nuts when I play with them, you know.

Postif: Yea, I know. You were in the twentieth birthday of music or something like that. [The Verve recording was made at the 1957 Newport Festival celebrating Basie’s twentieth anniversary as a recording bandleader. —Ed] From Louis Porter’s Lester Young Reader. Here’s something from that day 60 years ago.


  1. when I finally could afford a cd player, this was the first cd I bought. My father saw Young during the Army stand in LA where Prez was drafted and saw him at Jazz at the Philharmonic, my father wrote poems about Lester Young. No one who does not know Lester can live right

    • Tony, I’d love to read your father’s poems about Prez. I’m getting the doc pretty close. Hope to have it done next year, if the creek don’t rise…cheers Henry

    • I was just notified of your post today!!!! I thought it was recent.

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