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BILLIE HOLIDAY

The Complete Carnegie
Hall Performances

Poll Winners Records PWR 27352

 

 

CD1 [63:33]

1 Reading From Lady Sings The Blues
2 Lady Sings The Blues
3 It Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do
4 Travelin’ Light With Reading
5 Reading From Lady Sings The Blues
6 Billie’s Blues
7 Body And Soul
8 Reading From Lady Sings The Blues
9 Don’t Explain
10 Yesterdays
11 Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone
12 I’ll Be Seeing You
13 Reading From Lady Sings The Blues
14 My Man
15 I Cried For You
16 Fine And Mellow
17 I Cover The Waterfront
18 Oh, What A Little Moonlight Can Do
19 Announcement Into All Of Me
20 It Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do
21 Lover Come Back To Me
22 My Man
23 Them There Eyes
24 Lover Man
25 Stormy Weather


CD 2 [70:02]

1 Norman Granz Announcement
2 Lover Man
3 Announcement By Duke Ellington
4 Lover Come Back To Me
5 I Cover The Waterfront
6 My Man
7 Fine And Mellow
8 The Man I Love
9 Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You
10 All Of Me
11 Billie’s Blues
12 You Better Go Now
13 You’re Driving Me Crazy
14 There Is No Greater Love
15 I Cover The Waterfront
16 Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?
17 Don’t Explain
18 I Loves You Porgy
19 Peacock Alley Show I: Billie Holiday Interview
20 Peacock Alley Show II: Don’t Explain
21 Peacock Alley Show III: Fine And Mellow
22 Peacock Alley Show IV : Yesterdays / Interview
23 Medley: Ghost Of Yesterday Into You Go To My Head

PERSONNEL:

BILLIE HOLIDAY, vocals on all tracks, plus:

CD1 [1-18]:

ROY ELDRIDGE, tumpet
COLEMAN HAWKINS, tenor sax
CARL DRINKARD, piano
TONNY SCOTT, clarinet, piano (on “Lady Sings the Blues” only),
CARSON SMITH, bass
CHICO HAMILTON, drums
November 10, 1956.

CD1 [19-24]: Count Basie & His Orchestra . September 25, 1954

CD1 [25]:

BUCK CLAYTON, trumpet
LESTER YOUNG, tenor sax
COUNT BASIE, organ
BOBBY TUCKER, piano
EDDIE JONES, bass
BUDDY RICH, drums
May 6, 1955.

CD2 [1-2]:

OSCAR PETERSON, piano
HERB ELLIS, guitar
RAY BROWN, bass
BUDDY RICH, drums
September 13, 1952.

CD2 [3-7]:

JIMMY HAMILTON,clarinet
RAY NANCE, violin
BUSTER HARDING, piano
JOHN FIELD, bass
MARQUIS FOSTER, drums
November 14, 1952.

CD2 [8-11]:

JOE GUY, trumpet
GEORGIE AULD, alto sax
ILLINOIS JACQUET, LESTER YOUNG, tenor sax
KENNY KERSEY, piano
TINY GRIMES, electric guitar
AL McKIBB, bass
J.C. HEARD, drums
June 3, 1946.

CD2 [12-15]: BOBBY TUCKER, piano. May 24, 1947.

CD2 [16-17]: Members of the Louis Armstrong Orchestra including:

EARL MASON, piano; ELMER WARNER, guitar; ARVEL SHAW, bass, SIDNEY CATLET, drums
[on 16] BOBBY TUCKER, piano [on 17]. February 8, 1947.

All tracks recorded live at Carnegie Hall, New York.

BONUS TRACKS CD2 [18-23]:

CD2 [18]: Billie Holiday (vc) with orchestra conducted by Skitch Henderson
(including probably Carl Drinkard on piano).
Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show”, New York, November 8, 1956.

CD2 [19-22]: Billie Holiday (recitation) & interviewed by Tex McCleary. Peacock. Alley Show, New York, Nov. 8, 1956.

CD2 [23]: Billie Holiday & Helen Merrill (vc), Leonard Feather (p).
Leonard Feather’s apartment, New York, November 1956.



For fans of Billie Holliday, like myself, this is a very welcome release, where all her surviving performances from Carnegie Hall have been corralled together for the first time. The earliest date from 1946, the latest is the well-aired The Essential Billie Holiday – Carnegie Hall Concert of November 10 1956, previously released on Verve.

The concert is interspersed with four excerpts from Holliday’s autobiography ‘Lady Sings The Blues’, read by an announcer. There’s no doubt that by 1956 the singer’s lifestyle was taking it’s toll on her health. She was to die three years later on 17 July 1959 of liver disease. Although no longer in her prime, her voice is in good shape with her inimitable style shining through. The unique nuances, inflections and timbre are all there – just listen to Body and soul and I’ll be seeing you. Then there’s her very personal phasing and rubato as in Oh what a little moonlight can do. The excitement, electricity and even intimacy of this live event is tangible, and there’s no doubting that she reaches out to the audience and beyond. She’s joined by some of the big names around at the time, such as Roy Eldridge and Coleman Hawkins.

CD 2 comprises extant tracks from various Carnegie Hall concerts taped between 1946 and 1954. Five never before released bonus tracks from November 8, 1956 are from a radio show in which the singer is interviewed about her upcoming concert of two days later. Although she appears at times diffident, she recites lyrics to three of her songs. A final bonus track derives from after the concert; Holliday and Helen Merrill sing a duet with Leonard Feather at the piano, at whose apartment this relaxed impromptu event takes place.

The four tracks from May 24 1947 are the least successful sound wise. However, listen through the acetate surface crackle and with You’re driving me crazy you’re in for a treat. Particularly successful are tracks 16-17 from 8 February 1947. They originate from a concert featuring Louis Armstrong, with Billie appearing near the end to promote the film New Orleans that she appeared in with Louis. She’s on top form vocally with the voice having a lustrous bloom, despite being quite closely miked.

Matías Rinar has written some detailed accompanying notes which shed some light on Carnegie Hall’s eventually being recognized as a jazz venue following a concert featuring Benny Goodman in June 1938, and provide some context to the gems on offer here. Also included are the original liner notes from The Essential Billie Holiday-Carnegie Hall Concert.
 
Stephen Greenbank



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