Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Lester Young

Music History Monday: Joaquin and Lester

Today we recognize the birth and the death of two musical masters from entirely different times and places who nevertheless, by the most extraordinary of coincidences, share the same nickname: the jazz tenor saxophonist Lester “Prez” Young and the Franco-Flemish composer Josquin “des Prez” Lebloitte. Lester “Prez” Young Lester Willis Young was born on August 27, 1909 – 109 years ago today – in Woodland, Mississippi. He was the consummate jazz hipster, who played “cool” long before “cool jazz” was recognized as a genre of jazz. Known in particular for his long association with Billie Holiday, Lester Young died on March 15, 1959, at the age of 49. Josquin des Prez Josquin des Prez (or “Desprez”; we will talk about the surname Lebloitte in a moment) was born circa 1450 and died on August 27, 1521: 497 years ago today. He was, simply, the greatest and most respected composer of his time. That he is not still a musical household name speaks to the fickleness of history and not to his music, which is superb. Josquin was the first composer to become a legend after his death, the first to have his music widely disseminated thanks to the newly invented […]

Continue Reading