1937 sessions

(A) STUDIO SESSIONS

Session #14 New York, 12/January/1937, Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.2, tk12-15)
Jonah Jones (tp) Edgar Sampson (cl)(as) Ben Webster (ts) Teddy Wilson (p) Allan Reuss (g) John Kirby (b) Cozy Cole (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Not a remarkable session, with obscure songs issued by Vocalion.

(MT 37) One Never Knows, Does One?
(MT 38) I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
(MT 38a) I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (alternate take)
(MT 39) If My Heart Could Only Talk – the opening emulates a cowboy song, a style very popular in the 30s.
(MT 40) Please Keep Me In Your Dreams – for me, a tempo a bit too fast.

 


Session #15 New York, 25/January/1937, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.2, tk16-19)
Buck Clayton (tp) Benny Goodman (cl) Lester Young (ts) Teddy Wilson(p) Freddie Green (g) Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d) Billie Holiday (v)

An historic session by Brunswick with one of the best bands in these series although almost all musicians were inexperienced in studio recordings. Besides Buck e Lester (see below) the session counts again with Benny Goodman. The rhythm section is a show: Jo Jones makes his first presentation with Billie and he would record 37 tracks with her in the Columbia years (Walter Page 45 and Freddie Green 41 tracks).

(MT 41) He Ain’t Got Rhythm – a less inspired Irving Berlin song that doesn’t fit in the session.

(MT 42) This Year’s Kisses ** another Berlin song, this one marvelous. Note the excellent Lester Young solo at the opening. This is his first track with Billie, but he would record other 50 tracks with her till the end of Columbia years. Lester is one of the best sax players in the jazz history. Billie is perfect and Wilson follows her in the beginning of the final chorus when Buck assumes till the end with the band.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 43) Why Was I Born? ** here Buck Clayton shines in mute from the opening. He would record more 40 tracks with Billie, the majority in the Columbia years. The song is an excellent composition by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein for the play Sweet Adeline in 1929. Deplorable is the poor sound quality.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 44) I Must Have That Man *** excellent song by McHugh & Dorothy Fields, completing in high style this memorable session. After a short introduction Billie assumes the theme backed by Wilson and Clayton. Lester Young does one of his masterpiece solos in the final chorus, followed by Goodman and Buck. This remarkable jazz ensemble deserves three stars.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

  • Billie would record it again in 1956 (s.MT 274), this time with Tony Scott band earning three more stars.

z_lesteryoung4
Lester Young
was born in Mississippi. When he came to New York he lived some time by Sadie, Billie’s mother. By the time, all the musicians got a nickname, like for instance “Duke” (Ellington) and “Count” (Basie). Billie, celebrating their friendship, would soon call him “Pres” (for president) and he, in turn , would call her Lady Day. They would be great friends for life and he would pass away just a couple of weeks before her.

z_buck claytonBuck Clayton (Wilbur Dorsey Clayton) was Born in Kansas and recorded 40 studio tracks with Billie and almost that many also in other live recordings. His first studio recording experience was with Billie and Teddy Wilson, in the above mentioned session. He was older than Lady and would live longer, passing away only in 1991. He would say later that Billie and Lester formed an inseparable couple of friends and that the three of them were known in Harlem as “The Unholy Three”.

 


Session #16 New York, 18/February/1937, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.2, tk20-23)
Henry ‘Red’ Allen (tp) Cecil Scott (cl)(as)(ts) Prince Robinson (cl)(ts) Teddy Wilson (p) Jimmy Mc Lin (g) John Kirby (b) Cozy Cole (d) Billie Holiday (v)

This session is a low-point in the Brunswick history.

(MT 45) The Mood That I’m In – too long introduction!

(MT 46) You Showed Me The Way * Cecil Scott opens with the clarinet backed by Wilson, who assumes and passes to Red Allen in a long, although perfect, introduction. The song is less known and has the curiosity to have Ella Fitzgerald listed among the composers.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 47) Sentimental & Melancholy – note Red Allen’s solo in the bridge; this was his sole session with Billie, probably because they didn’t get along very well (actually, I think he is a bit too noisy).

(MT 48) (This Is) My Last Affair * I like the way Lady spells “…this is my la-ast affair” in her first chorus.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

Session #17 New York, 31/March/1937, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.3, tk1-3)
Cootie Williams (tp) Johnny Hodges (as) Harry Carney (cl)(bs) Teddy Wilson (p) Alan Reuss (g) John Kirby (b) Cozy Cole (d) Billie Holiday (v)
  • On March 1st Billie got a call communicating his father’s death. Billie was registered as Eleanora Harris and later adopted the artistic name of his father, Clarence Holiday. A WWI veteran, he had his lungs affected with mustard gas, one of the plagues in that conflict. He died age 37. Billie and her mother suffered a lot emotionally.
(MT 49) Carelessly * Hodges opens, Teddy follows and Billie carries this nice melody. The final Cootie’s solo is exaggerated and unpleasant.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 50) How Could You? – a childish song in a fast tempo
(MT 51) Moanin’ Low ** very nice song by Howard Dietz & Ralph Rainger. Teddy e Hodges alternate in a long introduction and Billie comes in backed by Cootie’s obbligati.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.


Session #18 New York, 1º/April/1937, Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.3, tk4-7)
Eddie Tompkins (tp) Buster Bailey (cl) Joe Thomas (as) Teddy Wilson (p) Carmen Mastren (g) John Kirby (b) Alphonse Steele (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Some say this is one of the best of Lady’s sessions. I don’t agree. Vocalion sessions were generally inferior to the Brunswick’s, but the best of them all in my opinion will be session #29.

(MT 52) Where Is The Sun? * notice Bailey’s obbligato in this slow track.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 53) Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off – a classic standard by George & Ira Gershwin for the film Shall we dance? I personally don’t like, not even with Billie. It’s worth Joe Thomas’ sax solo.
(MT 54) They Can’t Take Away From Me * another standard by the Gershwins for the same film, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Notice the original trumpet intro, repeated again at the bridge by Bailey clarinet, a delight. Listen below.
(MT 54a) They Can’t Take Away From Me (alternate take)

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 55) I Don’t Know If I’m Coming Or Going
(MT 55a) I Don’t Know If I’m Coming Or Going (alternate take)

Session #19 New York, 11/May/1937, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.3, tk8-11)
Buck Clayton (tp) Buster Bailey (cl) Johnny Hodges (as) Lester Young (ts) Teddy Wilson (p) Alan Reuss (g) Artie Bernstein (b) Cozy Cole (d) Billie Holiday (v)

Very good session, with lots of swing and a respectable brass section makes this one of the best Brunswick sessions.

(MT 56) Sun Showers ** Buck opens amazingly, followed by Bailey’s clarinet and obbligati. Wilson and Hodges take over in the long final sequence keeping the swing tempo in this wonderful song.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 57) Yours And Mine * Hodges and Wilson obbligati followed by Buck make a wonderful intro. Lots of swing.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 58) I’ll Get By ** the band opens and Hodges takes over in an excellent solo. Billie’s marvelous rendition is a classic. Wilson and Buck close with more swing.
Billie will record it once more in 1944 (s.MT #163), but this one is superior.
(MT 58a) I’ll Get By (alternate take)

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 59) Mean To Me * another delightful song, listen to the Lester’s solo, back after some time.
(MT 59a) Mean To Me (alternate take)

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.


Session #20 New York, 1º./June/1937, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.3, tk12-14)
Buck Clayton (tp) Buster Bailey (cl) Lester Young (ts) Teddy Wilson (p) Freddie Green (g) Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d) Billie Holiday (v)

In contrast with the former session, this one goes straight in a medium tempo. Very pleasant. It is always a pleasure listen to Lester and Buck together.

(MT 60) Foolin’ Myself * Lester Young opens in a brilliant way then Wilson and Buck close the long introduction; Billie carries well this marvelous song by Tinturin, lyrics by Jack Lawrence (who also wrote Tenderly, years later)

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 61) Easy Living ** a delightful rendering.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 62) I’ll Never Be the Same * Wilson opens with a long solo and Billie takes over with Lester’s obbligati.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.


Session #21 New York, 15/June/1937, Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.3, tk15-18)
Buck Clayton (tp) Edmond Hall (cl) Lester Young (ts) James Sherman (p) Freddie Green (g) Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d) Billie Holiday (v)

A mediocre Vocalion session that counts, however, with great artists in the cast.

(MT 63) Me, Myself And I
(MT 63a) Me, Myself And I (alternate take)
(MT 64) A Sailboat In The Moonlight – worth for the Wilson piano solo.
(MT 65) Born To Love * a song by unknown composers has a good balance and it’s worth by Buck’s solo in the bridge and Lester’s obbligati.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 66) Without Your Love ** the lyrics are funny (…”like a plane with no wings”…) and worth by the swing in Sherman’s solo and Lester’s obbligati.
(MT 66a) Without Your Love (alternate take)

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.


Session #22 New York, 13/September/1937, Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.3, tk19-22)
Buck Clayton (tp) Buster Bailey (cl) Lester Young (ts) Claude Thornhill (p)Freddie Green (g) Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d) Billie Holiday (v)

The songs are mediocre and the producer is Bernie Hanighen.

(MT 67) Getting Some Fun Out Of Life * Billie opens the track, what is very unusual. The obbligati are conducted alternately by Buck, Bailey and Claude. Notice the solos by Buck, Bailey and Lester in the bridge. One can imagine Billie following the rhythm and having a good time. She comes back for the final chorus.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 68) Who Wants Love?
(MT 69) Trav’lin’ All Alone
(MT 70) He’s Funny That Way * an standard from Neil Moret, lyrics by Richard Whiting. The best song in the pack.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

 


Session #23 New York, 1º. /November/1937, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.4, tk1-4)
Buck Clayton (tp) Prince Robinson (cl), Vido Musso (ts), Teddy Wilson (p) Allan Reuss (g) Walter Page (b) Cozy Cole (d) Billie Holiday (v)

A first quality session, with a fine selection of standards and good musicians for the Brunswick label.

(MT 71) Nice Work If You Can Get It * a classic Gershwins song to open the session is not a bad idea. Billie will record that again in 1955 (see MT #264) with better results.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 72) Things Are Looking Up * double Gershwin dose! Both were edited in the same 78rpm, Brunswick 8015. A collector’s item. Notice Teddy’s piano in the bridge and in the end.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 73) My Man *** my second three-stars is a tribute to this Billie classic. It almost lost half star due to Buck’s ending, though. Originally, this is a French song (Mon homme), where did Lady find it? Maybe Hammond? See also further recordings in 1948 (s.MT #199) e 1952 (s.MT #234), the latter being the best of them all.

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

  • This song turned to be a popular success in Billie’s shows. We know 13 tracks of live recordings. Among them, the best is her participation at the Carnegie Hall in November, 1956. Please see ahead my comments in that date.
(MT 74) Can’t Help Loving Dat Man ** a standard by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein; a classic from the musical score Show Boat. Notice Prince in the start up solo and his wonderful obbligato in the last Billie’s chorus. It is remarkable the ending with the three horns. The last two tracks were edited together in the 8008 Brunswick 78rpm. A record for collectors!

The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.


B) LIVE SESSIONS

Live Session #2 [radio broadcast] New York, 30/June/1937, Count Basie & His Orchestra (Tracks in the CD box Perfect Complete Collection vol.1 or Complete on Columbia, vol.8)
Buck Clayton, Ed Lewis, Bobby Moore (tp) George Hunt, Dan Minor (tb) Earle Warren, R. Jack’ Washington (as, bs) Herschel Evans, Lester Young (ts) W. ‘Count’ Basie(p) Freddie Green(g) Walter Page(b) Jo Jones(d) Billie Holiday(v)

Savoy Ballroom (Harlem); MBS Broadcast by WOR. Savoy Ballroom was a major music and dance place that lasted from the early 1930’s to the mid 1940’s, located on Lenox Ave. and 141st Street.

(LR 2) They Can’t Take That Away from Me * this is the first time in her career that she is backed by Count Basie. With that Gershwin song, a good match. Buck Clayton takes care of the bridge.
(LR 3) Swing, Brother, Swing

The tracks are in LP Columbia Golden Years CL 1759. Click here to listen.


The MBS – Mutual Broadcasting System was founded September 15, 1934, to provide programming for radios WOR (New York), WGN (Chicago), WLW (Cincinnati), and WXYZ (Detroit). Mutual was an arrangement among its four founders to share programs produced at the stations. It evolved along the years to a chain of almost 1000 affiliates but ended its activities by 1999. Other similar services were carried at the time by CBS and NBC.  WOR NY station was owned by Bamberger Broadcasting Service.


Live Session # 3 [radio broadcast] New Jersey, 3/November/1937, Count Basie & His Orchestra (Track in the box Perfect Complete Collection vol.1 & Complete on Columbia, vol.8)
Buck Clayton, Ed Lewis, Bobby Moore(tp) Eddie Durham, H.’Benny’ Morton, Dan Minor(tb) Earle Warren(as), R. ‘Jack’ Washington (as,bs) Herschel Evans, Lester Young (ts) W. ‘Count’ Basie(p) Freddie Green(g) Walter Page(b) Jo Jones(d) Billie Holiday(v)

CBS Broadcast by WOR at the Meadowbrook Lounge, Cedar Grove, NJ.  Meadowbrook was one of the premier ballrooms of the dance band era, owned by Frank Dailey (1901-1956) who also led several orchestras.

(LR 4) I Can’t Get Started * the complete orchestra is not an usual backing for Billie, but in this case with very pleasant results, despite the poor sound quality of this live track.

Original LP Columbia CL 1759 Golden Years (US 1962) . Click here to listen.


37-11_01_s23

 

 

Billie at Frank Dailey’s Meadowbrook Lounge

 

 


© www.billieholidaysongs.com® – February 2017

7 thoughts on “1937 sessions

  1. Re: Where did Billie find “My Man?” Fannie Brice had a huge huge hit with the song in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1922 and routinely performed it in live and broadcast appearances for many years.

    • Dear “Jane”

      I don’t konw how deep you searched in the site about this song, but let me summarize for you:
      In the menu “Sessions”, year 1937, I comment that my guess is that it was Hammond that selected this song for her.
      Then, in the “Lyrics” menu, go to My Man. There are 17 transcriptions of all the versions she recorded. See in the 1951 version where I made a transcription of Billie’s intro of the song, where she mention Ms. Brice
      At the end of all transcriptions, I make some comments of the origin of this song, since it was originally recorded in France.
      All the best
      Paulo

  2. “I’ll Never Be The Same” has a great intro by Lester, that Wilson then takes off from. This and “This Year’s Kisses” are my favorite Billie/Lester recordings

  3. Hello,

    I came across a Count Basie cassette with the album Super Chief. Billie Holiday is featured singing the song “If Dreams Come True”. I understand this was not Basie playing with her, so do you know why it would be featured in his record?

    • Dear Irv, actually Billie did join Basie in the 1930s in some tracks. But not in this particular song. I don´t know why they included it in that album. Maybe because none of those collaborations were result from studio recordings, but instead in live sessions. Probably some sidemen from his orchestra were playing. It will be necessary to make a deeper investigation.
      The players in that song were: Buck Clayton (tp) Benny Morton (tb) Lester Young (ts) Teddy Wilson (p) Freddie Green (g)Walter Page (b) Jo Jones (d) Billie Holiday (v)
      regards

  4. In your Session #17 notes, I think you’re confusing Count Basie’s horn players with Duke Ellington’s. That said, this has been a wonderful resource. Thank you for all the work.

    • Hi, Kevin

      Thank you for your comment, you are right. I removed that sentence, as I coundn´t find out where I read that.

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