Sample Paper: Report on Lester Leaps (1939) by Lester Young

Lester leaps is a Jazz standard, which is a composition that can is credited to Lester Young. Lester Young was the tenor Saxophonist and was also the arrangement leader for this record. The arrangement was based on the chord progression of “I Got Rhythm.”  The composition was initially recorded in 1939 by Count Basie’s Kansas City seven. It is inspired by George Gershwin harmonies, which offer it the opportunity for improvisation, where these changes often are referred to as simple rhythm changes. Young also substitutes diatonic chords in his arrangement to provide an additional darn to the songs in the record (Jazz Standards, 2017). By employing the kind of substitute harmonies, Young sought to simplify and reduce the harmonic materials in each tune. Leaps Solo, in the Lester leaps, incorporates numerous examples of his tendency of simplifying (Jazz Standards 1). To counterbalance the song, Young uses minimal aspects of the solo, where there are several executed arpeggios, runs, and fills which young moves airily around the tenor. 

  Lester leaps composition is listed by Milestone recordings as one of the milestone recordings in the US, whereas it scores a 98/100 scale at, where the website states that this is a classic performance, which is a must-have for all jazz fans across the globe (Linda 1). Lester Young, who was born in 1909, and passed on in 1959, was raised in a musical family. Through his upbringing, he was able to learn the basics of the trumpet, drums, and violins, whereby the time he was ten years, he managed to join a young Family Band. He clashed with his father when he was 18 as the result of refusing to take a Jim Crow tour. Young later joined the Bostonians, where he opted for the tenor saxophone as his main instrument. 

Lester leaps composition has 299 notes and 64 bars. It also has two choruses and a 251.4 mean Tempo. For its event Density, Lester leaps has 4.69 Notes/bar. The record has a 1.26:1 media Ratio, where the ratio is longer to shooter eight of beats, and also has a binary subdivision. The metrical Centroid is 2+, where the mean concentration of the events in the bar is rounded and normalized to 4/4 (The Jazzomat 1). The record has a Syncopicity of 22.4 with it has a Share of syncopated notes. The ambitus of the record has a minimum ambitus of 46 and a maximum of 72, with a range of MIDI pitches (The Jazzomat). The extreme Ration of Lester leaps is 39.1%, where the share of note has a direction reversal, meaning that it has minima and maxima of pitch contour. 

  Lester young changed everything about playing the saxophone and also the art of Jaz itself. Based on George and Arias “I Got Rhythm,” he was able to make an original rendition of Lester Leaps In. The record features the head arrangements, where it has improvised solos that are built around a central riff. The composition can also be used as a representation of minimalism in music, through the arrangement by Young. The tone of the song sounds quite sweet, where at the end of the song, there is a slow ending, which is full of a perceptual statement. However, this does not go without critical, where critics accuse young’s tenor saxophone of being too weak. 

However, with time, despite the critics, he was able to prove that he can occupy a critical composition in music, which he did until his death. Through records such as t Lester leaps, young was able to influence cool jazz more than any other musician of his time. This was through playing gentle and light sound in his saxophone, which is in contrary to the detonation approach of other players such as Coleman Hawkins. The reason that the record and the musician stood out was also that he used rhythm instead of driving it. 

  Young, through Lester leaps and other compositions, leaves an indelible personal legacy for traditional jazz.  He left a legacy, since h has inspired generations of jazz musicians and also the way in which made people appreciate jazz music. After coming back from the military, Young managed to come back to the limelight band playing with the style, making everyone turned their opinion about his style of play. The Lester leaps, which is based on the Rhythm change, vamps in the A sections, where it has an improvised bridge over a circle of fifths. Young disregards the A sections and goes ahead to play the Bob Chord. 

 From his art, he is also able to express emotions and expressions of peace and happiness. His childhood memories are also expressed through the saxophone and the changing rhythms. From Lester leaps, it is apparent that Young is different from other musicians such as Webster and Hawkins (RiverWalk Jazz 1). He was able to move out of the inner world, which is contrary to Hawkins’s style, which is sharp and full of ambitions, where he played a critical role in the development of bebop in sass directly. By having a melodically driven approach, Young was able to tackle the rhythm differently as compared to Hawkins. Hawkins, on the hand, in his arrangements, had a tendency to construct rising and falling patterns of the eighth notes, where he relied on harmonic complexity to provide interest. On the contrary, Lester Leaps has a rhythmic variation. Some of the phrases used by Lester enter precisely on the beat. However, others are delayed by an eight or on a quarter note (RiverWalk Jazz 1). A repeated motif is often differently placed over the accompanying beat in each repetition, where sometimes there is a one minute delay to cause anticipation. Hawkins can be defined as a walking jazz composition who played a significant role in inspiring Lester Young’s style. However, style played flurries of notes and a huge tone as compared to Hawkins, who opted to play around harmonic ways. Through compositions such as the Lester leaps, Young has been able to inspire other tenor players of the day, who have emulated his style of play even in the contemporary acts (RiverWalk Jazz). 


 The Lester Leaps composition will remain to be one of the most excellent jazz compositions of all time. This is due to its difference in rhythm and harmony to other jazz records and the prowess and craft used by Young in his arrangements. The composition has inspired multiple contemporary jazz musicians and is likely to inspire other future generations who are in the world of jazz music. 


Works Cited

Jazz Standards. “Lester Leaps In (1940).” (2017). <>.

Linda, Hillshafer. “Stories of Standards: Lester Leaps In by Lester Young.” (2019). <>.

RiverWalk Jazz. “Lester Leaps In: The President of Tenor Sax.” (2011). <>.

The Jazzomat. “Lester Young “Lester Leaps In”.” (2019). <>.

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