By then, Basie's sound was characterized by a "jumping" beat and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano. His personnel around 1937 included: Lester Young and Herschel Evans (tenor sax), Freddie Green (guitar), Jo Jones (drums), Walter Page (bass), Earle Warren (alto sax), Buck Clayton and Harry Edison (trumpet), Benny Morton and Dickie Wells (trombone). Lester Young, known as "Prez" by the band, came up with nicknames for all the other band members. He called Basie "Holy Man", "Holy Main", and just plain "Holy".
Basie favored blues, and he would showcase some of the most notable blues singers of the era after he went to New York: Billie Holiday, Jimmy Rushing, Big Joe Turner, Helen Humes, and Joe Williams. He also hired arrangers who knew how to maximize the band's abilities, such as Eddie Durham and Jimmy Mundy.
Lester Willis Young, nicknamed "Pres" or "Prez", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and occasional clarinetist.
Coming to prominence while a member of Count Basie's orchestra, Young was one of the most influential players on his instrument. In contrast to many of his hard-driving peers, Young played with a relaxed, cool tone and used sophisticated harmonies, using "a free-floating style, wheeling and diving like a gull, banking with low, funky riffs that pleased dancers and listeners alike".
Famous for his hip, introverted style, he invented or popularized much of the hipster jargon which came to be associated with the music.
Recorded: Chicago, Illinois Oct. 9, 1936
Lester Young - Tenor Sax
Carl "Tatti" Smith - Trumpet
Count Basie - Piano
Freddie Green - Rhythm Guitar
Walter Page - Bass
Jo Jones - Drums