63. Lester Young Trio with Nat King Cole and Buddy Rich (1946)
This is Lester Young right after the war, 1946, and leading a piano trio with Nat King Cole and Buddy Rich. It's the comfort food of jazz, and very satisfying. Young's lines are the epitome of their form, sweetly imagined, and sound as much like lines in a conversation as they do lines of melody on a saxophone. It's a good example of Young's casual, easy swinging style, and with just two other guys in the group, it's everywhere on the record. Nat's left hand does somersaults in playful runs, inventive patterns and good rhythmic chording, making the idea of a bass player obviously redundant. Cole interacts with Lester a lot. The pair is constantly trading ideas and listening to one another intently. Rich mostly uses the brushes but makes a relaxed vibe, keeping tempos taut and encouraging the soloists. There's a lot to choose from. The CD issue has two versions of "I Cover the Waterfront" and a handful of outtakes at the end of the disc which are nice.