Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Lester Young’s Kansas City Six

December 24, 1939

This recording was made live at Carnegie Hall in New York City on December 24, 1939 during one of John Hammond’s “From Spirituals To Swing Concerts.”

The “Kansas City Six” band consisted of Lester Young, tenor sax; Buck Clayton, trumpet; Charlie Christian, electric guitar; Freddie Green, rhythm guitar; Walter Page, bass; and Jo Jones, drums.

*From Spirituals to Swing was the title of two concerts presented by John Hammond in Carnegie Hall on December 23, 1938 and December 24, 1939. The idea was a history, starting with Spirituals and leading up to big Swing bands, involving African American performers. Hammond had difficulty gaining sponsorship for the event because it involved African American artists and an integrated audience. Aid came from an unlikely source when The New Masses, a prominent American Marxist publication that served as the journal of the American Communist Party, agreed to finance it.

*On December 23, 1938, “From Spirituals To Swing” was presented to a sold-out house… Its success prompted another concert on Christmas Eve of 1939…

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