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Billie Holiday: Blue Billie

Jim Santella By

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Few singers could interpret with the conviction Billie Holiday used in delivering her musical love letters. She had a personal appeal that led us to believe we were listening to a dear relative sing, and that the audience was just us. Whether she was eyeing the waterfront in search of a soon-to-return loved one, or complaining mildly about the way he treats her, Billie Holiday made it all come to life through her recordings. This compilation includes selections that were originally recorded between 1935 and 1942 with various accompanying ensembles and released on vinyl through OKeh, Brunswick, Columbia and Vocalion. The emphasis is on Holiday's natural vocal manner. Some selections exhibit a loping Dixieland mood and others appear with a sensual gravity that can only come through life's experiences. We've all been there.

This recommended compilation includes integral instrumental solos by Roy Eldridge, Buster Bailey, Eddie Thompkins, Johnny Hodges, Dave Barbour, Artie Shaw, Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman, Hot Lips Page, Tab Smith (on soprano saxophone), Benny Carter (both on clarinet and alto saxophone), and Teddy Wilson.

Track Listing: Gloomy Sunday; Trav'lin' All Alone; Body and Soul; Where is the Sun?; You Let Me Down; God Bless the Child; Billie's Blues; I Cover the Waterfront; Moanin' Low; Am I Blue?; Loveless Love; Night and Day; St. Louis Blues; Why Was I Born?; Ghost of Yesterday; Long Gone Blues.

Personnel: Billie Holiday- vocals; Roy Eldridge, Bunny Berigan, Cootie Williams, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Eddie Thompkins, Buck Clayton, Richard Clarke, Bill Coleman, Emmett Berry, Hot Lips Page- trumpet; Benny Morton- trombone; Artie Shaw, Buster Bailey, Jimmy Hamilton, Tom Mace, Benny Goodman- clarinet; Benny Carter, Hymie Schertzer, Jimmy Powell- clarinet, alto saxophone; Ernie Powell, Babe Russin- clarinet, tenor saxophone; Tab Smith- soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Johnny Hodges, Jack Washington, Carl Frye, Lester Boone, Earle Warren- alto saxophone; Stanley Payne, Kermit Scott, Joe Thomas, Georgie Auld, Lester Young- tenor saxophone; Harry Carney- baritone saxophone; Eddie Heywood, Joe Sullivan, Claude Thornhill, Kenny Kersey, Joe Bushkin, Sonny White, Teddy Wilson- piano; Allen Reuss, Jimmy McLin, Paul Chapman, Al Casey, Dick McDonough, Gene Fields, Carmen Mastren, Dave Barbour, Ulysses Livingston, Lawrence Lucie, Freddie Green- guitar; Walter Page, John Williams, Grachan Moncur, Pete Peterson, Wilson Myers, John Kirby- bass; Cozy Cole, J.C. Heard, Eddie Dougherty, Alphonse Steele, Herbie Cowens, Yank Porter, Hal West, Jo Jones- drums.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Columbia Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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