1940 sessions

(A) STUDIO SESSIONS

Session #39 New York, 29/February/1940, Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.6, tk.9-12)
Roy Eldridge (tp) Jimmy Powell, Carl Frye (as) Kermit Scott (ts) Sonny White (p) Lawrence Lucie(g) John Williams (b) Harold ‘Doc’ West (d) Billie Holiday (v)

40-02-29_s39_white_eldridge_williams_west_frye_powell_lucie_scott@

Three outstanding songs make this session one of the best in this volume, recorded February 29th, a singular day. That would be her last recording for Vocalion label.

(MT 129) Ghost Of Yesterday ** one more song by Arthur Herzog & Irene Kitchings, a pure gem. Eldridge shines in his short muted intro and he is briefly back in the end. The heavy arrangement, though, outshines partly this beauty.

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

(MT 130) Body And Soul ** a masterpiece by John Green (My days have grown so lonely…), one of the most beautiful in jazz. Billie is excellent, like Eldridge in his brief intro with the open instrument; he will come back in the bridge.

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

(MT 131) What Is This Going To Get Us? ** another nice composition by Herzog & Kitchings. Sonny White, his companion ever, shines in the bridge.

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

(MT 132) Falling In Love Again * I don’t have any other recording of this song, but it has a nice swing and Eldridge in the bridge. I learned it was sung by Marlene Dietrich in the film The Blue Angel.

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


Session #40 New York, 07/June/1940, Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.6, tk.13-16)
Roy Eldridge (tp) Bill Bowen, Joe Eldridge (as) Kermit Scott, Lester Young (ts) Teddy Wilson (p) Freddie Green (g) Walter Page (b) J.C. Heard (d) Billie Holiday (v)

In this first session with the new OKeh label, the arrangements turn lighter and more intimate, specially in the last track. A nice start.

(MT 133) I’m Pulling Through ** this wonderful song by Herzog & Kitchings opens the session. I appreciate this song and Billie is doing very well, like Lester in the bridge. (I’m pulling through and it’s because of you/ You made me see how lovely life could be…)

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

(MT 134) Tell Me More * another Billie composition, here in a funereal tempo but with some enchantment. Teddy Wilson is also back, filling the bridge.

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

(MT 135) Laughing At Life *

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

(MT 136) Time On My Hands ** a nice standard by Vincent Youmans closes the session. Notice the obbligati by Eldridge in mute and Lester & Wilson in the bridge. Eldridge ends with a golden key. Beautiful.

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


Session #41 New York, 12/September/1940, Billie Holiday & Her Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.6, tk.17-20)
Roy Eldridge (tp) Don Redman, Georgie Auld (as) Don Byas, Jimmy Hamilton (ts) Teddy Wilson (p) John Collins (g) Al Hall (b) Kenny Clarke (d) Billie Holiday (v)

A minor musical selection combined with a somewhat heavy arrangement.

(MT 137) I’m All For You * a note about Eldridge, that plays the bridge: he would record 31 tracks with Billie along Columbia years. He is one of the greatest trumpet players in jazz history. Only Buck Clayton would record more in the same period.

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

(MT 138) I Hear Music * both tracks were edited in a 78rpm, OKeh #5831

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

(MT 139) The Same Old Story **  notice Teddy Wilson in the bridge!

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

(MT 140) Practice Makes Perfect *

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


Session #42 New York, 15/October/1940, Benny Carter and his All Star Orchestra (CD: Complete in Columbia vol.6, tk.21-22)
Bill Coleman (tp) Benny Morton (tb) Benny Carter (cl)(as) Georgie Auld (ts) Sonny White (p) Ulysses Livingstone (g) Wilson Myers (b) Yank Porter (d) Billie Holiday (v)

This session with Benny Carter was part of an album with eight tracks in four 78 discs planned by Hammond and Feather as a tribute to W.C.Handy. The project was never completed.

(MT 141) St Louis Blues *** a jazz classic. Benny Carter, better known at the sax, performs a wonderful clarinet solo in the bridge.

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

(MT 142) Loveless Love ** in a jazziest tempo, Auld gets his opportunity in the bridge. The arrangement is interesting, quite different from what Billie recorded so far. Both tracks were issued in the 78rpm OKeh#6064, a collector’s item.

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

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W.C. Handy was a minor composer, being St. Louis Blues his greatest hit. In this same session, two more songs were recorded with Joe Turner.

 


(B) LIVE SESSIONS

Live session #6 [radio broadcast] New York 19/December/1940 (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.1)
Hot Lips Page (tp) Charlie Barnet, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young(ts), Teddy Wilson (p), unknown (g)(b)(d), Billie Holiday (v)

WNEW Broadcast.

(LR 8) The Man I Love *  

Original LP SAGA ERO 8014 Lady Day  (UK 1966). Sound not available.


wnew radio stationWNEW was a radio station in New York, its name meaning The NEWest Thing in Radio. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a key in the White House transmitting an electronic impulse to New York City activating a transmitter that put WNEW on the air for the first time.


© www.billieholidaysongs.com February 2017

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