Monday, February 27, 2017

A Recital by Billie Holiday

After an impasse in which she mostly recorded with tightly arranged groups (for Commodore) and big bands with strings (for Decca), Billie signed her last long-term contract with Norman Granz. He had showcased her as a star with his Jazz at the Philharmonic tours in the mid- and late forties, and when he signed her as a recording artist in 1952. He tried to repeat the small group magic of her early days. She participated on various sessions surrounded by old friends like Benny Carter, Ben Webster, Harry “Sweets” Edison“, Charlie Shavers and Cozy Cole, all of whom had participated on dates with her in the 1930’s, plus other big names from Granz’s payroll at the time, such as Paul Quinichette, Flip Phillips, Oscar Peterson, Alvin Stoller and Tony Scott.
This album contains recordings taken from her 1952 and 1954 sessions, and is an excellent sampler of her skills and charms. While the disc may appear to be just another throw-together of Holiday hits, with nothing in particular to distinguish it from the others, the arrangements, the performances and the recordings themselves are all wonderful. Backed by tight, laid-back session musicians (Oscar Peterson plays piano on many of the tracks — check out his solo on “Lover, Come Back to Me”). Holiday here enjoys the last full flush of her talents before health and substance abuse problems claimed her voice in the late ’50’s. On tracks like “He’s Funny That Way”, her raspy voice plays over melodies, caressing them, trailing off the end of phrases for emotional punctuation. Her tone is at once rich and wispy, managing simultaneously to convey vulnerability, despair, strength and sexuality.

Source :

Recital by
Billie Holiday
(Billie Holiday Story, vol. 3)


1 My Man (Yvain, Pollock)  2:37
2 Lover, Come Back to Me (Romberg, Hammerstein)  3:35
3 Stormy Weather (Arlen, Koehler)  3:42
4 Yesterdays (Kern, Harbach)  2:48
5 He's Funny that Way (Whiting, Moret)  3:11
6 I Can't Face the Music (Bloom, Koehler)  3:14
7 How Deep is the Ocean ? (Berlin)  2:57
8 What a Little Moonlight Can Do (Woods)  3:11
9 I Cried for You (Arnheim, Lyman, Freed)  2:26
10 Leave Me or Leave Me (Donaldson, Kahn)  2:34
11 P. S. I Love You (Jenkins, Mercer)  3:36
12 Too Marvelous for Words (Whiting, Mercer)  2:11
13 Softly (Green, Beal)  2:55
14 I Thought About You (Ronell)  3:06
15 Stormy Weather (Holiday)  3:27


[# 1-6] An Evening with Billie Holiday (Clef MGC 144)
Billie Holiday - vc
Joe Newman - tp
Paul Quinichette - ts
Oscar Peterson - p & org
Freddie Green - g
Ray Brown - b
Gus Johnson - dr
Recorded in New York City ; probably July 27, 1952
[# 7-9] Billie Holiday (Clef MGC 161)
Billie Holiday - vc
Charlie Shavers - tp
Oscar Peterson - p
Herb Ellis - g
Ray Brown - b
Ed Shaughnessy - dr
Recorded at Fine Sound Studio, New York City ; April 14, 1954
[# 10, 12 & 14-16] Lady Sings the Blues (Clef MGC 721)
Billie Holliday - vc
Harry "Sweets" Edison - tp
Willie Smith - as
Barney Kessel - g
Bobby Tucker - p
Red Callender - b
Chico Hamilton - dr
Recorded at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles ; September 3, 1954
[# 11 & 13] Billie Holiday, vol. 2 Verve Japan (MV 2118)
Same personnel & place as above


Melanchthon said...

george said...

Very nice post!
Thank you a lot, Mel.

Jazz Padd said...

Lovely, quite the gem. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Mp3 pleaze

hippocampe said...

God bless, Billie always sings for our heart...

deGallo said...

Thank you.

Angelo said...

Her voice is mesmerizing. I can't stop listening.

Thank you!

erasmus said...

melanchthon has the good taste and sense to provide us high quality flac, and somebody wants mp3. inexplicable. smh


Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Thank you Mel!!

cvllos said...

Thank you, melanchthon!

María José said...

Hi, I can't open de achive. Did I need a password?

kristophermc28 said...

Thanks Mel!

María José said...

Thanks a lot Mel.

Charco74 said...

Once again I salute you Melanchthon. Merci beaucoup.

Kovina Kris said...

This one looks really good. Nobody like Lady Day.

AmyBRAINS said...


Otis Foster said...

Wonderful. thnx melanchthon.

(PS - the captchas are brutally difficult, but I guess that's the whole point.)

peskypesky said...

thank you!

jazzcat1228 said...

Thank you, Mel!