Some famous jazzmen were lucky enough to have songs named in their honor when they were playing with the big bands. Count Basie recorded "Lester Leaps In" when Lester Young was in his 1930's band and Stan Kenton recorded "Zoot" when Zoot Sims was with him. This week we'll also have a couple of recordings featuring the saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess who passed away on October 30th. Wess joined Basie's "New Testament Band" starting in 1953, for 20 years had a quintet with fellow Basie alum Frank Foster, performed in studio television bands including Saturday Night Live, The Sammy Davis Jr. Show, and the Dick Cavett Show. In later years Wess formed a Basie style band featuring legendary Basie alums such as Harry “Sweets” Edison, Joe Newman, Snooky Young, Al Grey, Benny Powell, Marshal Royal and Billy Mitchell.
Lester Young Plays "Lester Leaps In"
Frank Wess Plays Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life"