Samstag, 5. November 2022

Billie Holiday - Same (1954)

"Billie Holiday" is an album by jazz singer Billie Holiday, released on Clef Records in 1954, despite the fact that her last album also had the same name prior to it being changed to "Last Recordings" instead. The recordings took place in 1952 and 1954. Holiday never entered the recording studio in 1953.

In a 1954 review, Down Beat magazine praises the album, saying:
"The set is an experience in mounting pleasure that can do anything but increase still further no matter how often the LP is replayed. As for comparing it with earlier Teddy Wilson-Billie sessions, what's the point? Count your blessings in having both. Speaking of time, Billie's beat and variations thereon never cease to be among the seven wonders of jazz."
Two recordings, "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "I Cried for You" were also recorded by Holiday in the 1930s with Teddy Wilson's Orchestra, at the beginning of her career.

This unconspicuously titled album from 1954 is mainly notable for containing tracks from two recording sessions that were quite distant chronologically. The first five songs were recorded in April 1952 (the same one that yielded much of the material for "An Evening With Billie Holiday"); the last three — ex­actly two years later. The backing band is very much the same: Oscar Peterson mans the piano in both cases, Ray Brown is on bass and Charlie Shavers on trumpet. (Herb Ellis replaces Barney Kessel on guitar, but neither is particularly noticeable).
What is, however, unmistakably different is Billie herself. The 1952 sessions have already been talked about before; here, of particular note is the exquisite lonesome-melancholic rendition of 'Autumn In New York' (comparing this to the syrupy lounge version of Sarah Vaughan, among others, reveals the utter triumph of simple intelligence and humane vulnerability over gloss and operatic technique), al­though, as usual, all the other performances are first-rate as well.
The last three songs, however, feature Billie's voice in the initial phases of decline – losing some of her frequencies (never all that abundant to begin with) and beginning to acquire that unmista­kable «old lady rasp» that she managed to be saddled with without actually turning into an old la­dy, due to substance abuse. It is only the beginning, though; here, the main effect is simply that the singing gets lower and «deeper». It is unclear if they put Shavers' trumpet on top of every­thing in order to «mask» that weakness — probably just a coincidence. But that's how it is.
In any case, the fast, playful versions of 'What A Little Moonlight Can Do' and 'I Cried For You' are still excellent, and the album as a whole has no lowlights, despite the incoherence of its two parts. Recommendable, if only for the beautiful 'Autumn In New York'.
(Thanks to for the review.)

1) Love For Sale
2) Moonglow
3) Everything I Have Is Yours
4) If The Moon Turns Green
5) Autumn In New York
6) How Deep Is The Ocean
7) What A Little Moonlight Can Do
8) I Cried For You

(256 kbps, front cover included)

5 Kommentare:

Sip the Light Umbongo hat gesagt…

Thank you for sharing, a beautiful album. Wonderful blog!

muddyw123 hat gesagt…

Man, this is such a gem! Love your taste!

zero hat gesagt…

Thanks a lot for your comments. Glad you like that kind of music. Best wishes!

vuoksenniska hat gesagt…

Thank you for sharing this great album with us!

Anonym hat gesagt…

Dear Sir... restore?

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