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LADY DAYBillie Holiday was the greatest jazz singer in the history of the music. She died on July 17,1959 at age 44. More has been written and spoken about her than any other singer. Frank Sinatra credited her with being his greatest musical influence. Her nickname, 'Lady Day', was bestowed upon her by tenor saxophonist Lester Young. 'Prez' (Billie's nickname for Lester, as she felt he was the "President of the Tenor Saxophone") was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra. An excerpt from The Sound of Jazz, a mid-50's CBS television program, shows her "drinking in" Lester's solo on Billie's Blues. This is truly some of the most powerful footage of Billie Holiday to date. The Verve release The Ultimate Collection (2 CD-1DVD Box Set) has this entire song on video and is truly worth its $30 price tag! Lady Sings The Blues was a Hollywood movie that starred Diana Ross as the famous, but troubled singer. I feel that it dwelled too much on Billie's drug habit, instead of educating the general public about her talent and her soul. But I guess that's Hollywood for you. It is important to note that addiction is a brain disease. Billie Holiday was not a bad person. Sadly, at age 10, Billie was raped by a young neighbor boy on Christmas Eve. This painful event, along with her father barely being a part of her life, caused her to go inside herself and use her music to comfort her sole. Needless to say, her addiction was pain-killing byproduct of her pain-filled childhood. If one wants to pay their respect to Billie Holiday, she was laid to rest in St. Raymond Cemetery in The Bronx. There Will Never Be Another You, Lady Day. We miss you.

                                                                                                  

                                       

 

                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                            

On the air since 1982.

tom@artistryinjazz.com