Lester Leaps In – 1960

Harry James

A hot version by the James big band

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Ed Sullivan always enjoyed the swing and, during the 1950s and early ‘60s, he often gave the remaining big bands an opportunity to play a song or two on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Feb. 14, 1960, telecast featured Harry James and his big band on an uptempo version of “Lester Leaps In.”

Harry James takes a fine trumpet solo, the two tenor-saxophonists (Sam Firmature and Jay Corre) harmonize Lester Young’s recorded solo and have a brief tradeoff, the band (driven by drummer Tony DeNicola) romps a la Count Basie, and James blasts his way through a second solo, climaxing the stirring performance.

-Scott Yanow


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