This interview was conducted by a jazz journalist Francois Postif with Lester Young at the Hotel d’Angleterre in Paris, 1959. Lester was appearing with a French rhythm section at Le Blue Note, a historic jazz club in the city. The 45-minute interview was recorded on a reel-to-reel tape recorder and caught Young at a relaxed moment before his show.
This interview is one of the two extant audio interviews with Mr. Young. During the interview Lester sketches an arc of his life that begins in New Orleans while jazz was in its nascency, and ends with his move to New York, his friendship with Billie Holiday and his experience as a star on stage while being a second-class citizen off. In between Lester discusses traveling the carnival circuit with his father’s band, his time in Kansas City, and his feelings on what was then contemporary jazz.