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Well it's time to say "Happy Birthday, Prez-O-Reeny!"
So I was looking at some photos and I saw him playing an unusual tenor.
I thought it was a Selmer, but the pinky table looks a lot like a Conn.
Anybody know what this horn is? (Just curious)
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I have a late 40's(??) silver plate Dolnet sitting here in need of a full overhaul .
Not sure when I'll get to it though.. too many projects . Serial number is 25,xxx
 

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Actually, when I got my 1st Jean Cartier some years back I loved it. Of course it is a Dolnet signature. When. I searched on the web about Jean Cartier horns, there was Lester Young in a prewar pic in the most beautiful suit, young Lester Young pre war, and though my horn I think is a 65 or so it looked exactly like mine. I printed out the pic and filed it. I now have a set of Conn ads I was lucky enough to come across in his post war career, and he was a pitch man for Conn and looking sharp! later sold my King Zephyr {1943} and my '63 King Super 20. and played the J C Dolnet with a couple of different mpcs. I gave the earlier pic to my dear friend Bruce Lippencot who was retired from 50 years of professional Jazz playing, mostly on the west coast. Philly born and raised, Cornell '36. Army band til '44. A couple of years ago he passed at age 90, but not before he sold me his second Conn tenor, '39 10n Naked Lady he wore the ist one out, and bought the second one from a guy who built it at the factory. I play it almost exclusively now with the 1920's Meyer double ring mpc he mated to it in'69. HOWEVER, before this I had purchased a '40s metal Selmer D mpc, for the Jean Cartier and could not believe the tone, power and projection! also made it play more in tone through the entire range. I'm now rebuilding a Jean Cartier Royal Jazz model and cant wait to roadtest it. I have seen on the forum some of the opinion that the plain model sounds and plays better. Hope to give my own opinion later. Look up Bruce on the web. see a great pic of him playing in N Y clubs with all the great beat poets. he also knew Lester in the day and was friends with Brubeck but didn't gig with them. hope you enjoyed reading this as much as i enjoyed posting it.
 

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Actually, when I got my 1st Jean Cartier some years back I loved it. Of course it is a Dolnet signature. When. I searched on the web about Jean Cartier horns, there was Lester Young in a prewar pic in the most beautiful suit, young Lester Young pre war, and though my horn I think is a 65 or so it looked exactly like mine. I printed out the pic and filed it. I now have a set of Conn ads I was lucky enough to come across in his post war career, and he was a pitch man for Conn and looking sharp! later sold my King Zephyr {1943} and my '63 King Super 20. and played the J C Dolnet with a couple of different mpcs. I gave the earlier pic to my dear friend Bruce Lippencot who was retired from 50 years of professional Jazz playing, mostly on the west coast. Philly born and raised, Cornell '36. Army band til '44. A couple of years ago he passed at age 90, but not before he sold me his second Conn tenor, '39 10n Naked Lady he wore the ist one out, and bought the second one from a guy who built it at the factory. I play it almost exclusively now with the 1920's Meyer double ring mpc he mated to it in'69. HOWEVER, before this I had purchased a '40s metal Selmer D mpc, for the Jean Cartier and could not believe the tone, power and projection! also made it play more in tone through the entire range. I'm now rebuilding a Jean Cartier Royal Jazz model and cant wait to roadtest it. I have seen on the forum some of the opinion that the plain model sounds and plays better. Hope to give my own opinion later. Look up Bruce on the web. see a great pic of him playing in N Y clubs with all the great beat poets. he also knew Lester in the day and was friends with Brubeck but didn't gig with them. hope you enjoyed reading this as much as i enjoyed posting it.
Wow Tedward! Some great stories about some great guys and great saxes!
Theo
 

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Thank you Theo. The pic of Bruce is in Smithsonion archives
Yeah man God bless the old timers. I also have a dear friend (he was my band director in grade school) here, Earl DeForest, who was in the day ('50s - '70s) the top tenor guy in Detroit. And he is still playing in his late eighties despite some scary health situations the last few years!
Like any player coming up in the '30s - '40s, he is to this day knocked out by Lester Young. We sit and play Lester records and talk a lot about the whole phenomenon, and he has helped me gain understanding of why Lester knocks me out too... Even now, I find myself asking myself "What is it??? What is so deep in there that just stops the world in its tracks, and makes me sit and stare off into space, just pondering... everything... and it just FEELS SO GOOD...???"
It's not a lot of notes (though at times it could be, especially with Basie)... And some of his trademark figures, motifs really strike me as childlike... A lot of the stuff comes off as contrived... But then you just let go of that and let yourself hear and feel it... and it is SO DEEP. Why?? What???
So in talking to Earl (and then going and listening to the Prez records) I've been able not so much to get the lowdown directly, but to glean, to infer, more of what was and still is going on with Lester.
Some of it has come from working to see through the haze and distortion of the lack of audio quality in the old recordings.
Other insights have come from listening to Prez disciples like Zoot, when they were young - like 1950 - and deep in the bosom of Lester, guys who, like Earl and Stan Getz and Al Cohn, had heard him LIVE and internalized that sound, and then made recordings that were of higher audio quality.
I am starting to realize and hear what Lester's tone actually sounded like in his prime. And I'm telling you it is powerful in every sense of the word.
A really important thing that is easy to overlook now is that his sound was a total musical revolution when he came on the scene. Not only had no one played sax like that... No one had played ANY instrument like that. He invented the "cool" sound, when Miles was still in diapers. It was truly earth-shattering... like the world stopped turning, when he showed up. There is a record from 1956 with Miles and Lester, a JATP tour of Europe, I think. They do Lady Be Good, and what I hear is Lester passing the baton to Miles between their solos.
I would also contend that Lester invented "rock & roll" and if you listen to some up-tempo numbers the Basie band did in the '30s I think you'd agree.
But the main thing I'm getting is that he was a really, really beautiful person and that is what really comes through and captivates us in his playing. It's the sound of a really honest, humble, lovable guy.
 
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