Though born in Baltimore, Billie Holiday had strong ties to Massachusetts throughout her career. Her final performance, in fact, took place in Lowell, cradle of the industrial revolution. Long before that tragic set, however, Holiday recorded a series of shows at George Wein’s legendary Boston club Storyville. Though separated by two years from 1951-53, these discreet recordings capture "Lady Day" in prime emotive voice. From the first of Carl Drunkard’s watery piano drops which open "I Cover The Waterfront" to Sten Getz’s peppy sax supports in the abbreviated closer "You’re Driving Me Crazy," Holiday evokes a wide palette of feels and feelings. "Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do" depicts an eerily realistic abusive relationship with disturbingly defiant laissez faire. Gershwin’s true classic "I Love You, Porgy," on the other hand, places Holiday in the position of a lover afraid of losing the one man who treats her right.
Along the way, Holiday also cries, creaks and slurs her way through such signatures as "I Only Have Eyes For You," Johnny Mercer’s "Too Marvelous For Words" and her self-penned "Billie’s Blues." Despite 24-bit remastering, the recordings retain the production value of their original platters. Even so, the CD is a pleasant and historic record.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.