1945 sessions


Session #53 New York 14/August/1945 Bob Haggart and his Orchestra (CD: Complete Decca vol.1, tk 7-10)
Joe Guy(tp) Bill Stegmeyer(as) Hank Ross, Armand Camgros (ts) Stanley Webb (bs) Sammy Benskin (p) Tiny Grimes (g) Bob Haggart (b) Specs Powell (d) Billie Holiday (v) plus 6 Strings.

Seven months later Billie has a new boyfriend, the trumpeter Joe Guy, who would accompany her in the next four sessions. Milt Gabler is still the producer.

(MT 180) Don’t Explain * (Decca 23565, 03/06/46) almost a year later, Billie recorded this song for the second time. Even though this is a complete different band, this recording follows Camarata’s arrangements in the preceding session, but in a slower tempo. I like the previous better and, even though Decca did not choose that as master, it won the star (s.MT #178).

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

(MT 181) Big Stuff – this is the second take, also considered an AT, being issued in Germany by MCA Coral in the LP #6.22125AK (1970). Being a remake of track (#179) it has similar arrangement, although the recording time is 2’57″ compared to previous 2’26″. Note the band is also different, now under Bob Haggart.

(MT 182) You Better Go Now – Ella Fitzgerald once said being this one her favorite Billie’s recording. I know it’s a temerity, but I disagree.

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

(MT 183) What Is This Thing Called Love? *** usually, I am not a fan of big bands arrangements, but this time I have to say that in this case the violins fit as a glove, the more I hear, the more I like. Joe Guy opens and  Billie comes like a velvet. Even a bridge is provided, where Guy’s trumpet and Grimes’ guitar shine – excellent.

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

One hour after this session, the US President announced the unconditional surrender of Japan, the end of the WWII.

In October, Sadie – Billie’s mother – is hospitalized and passed away on the 6th. She was 50.


Live session #14 [radio broadcast] Los Angeles 17/January/1945 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (CD: Track 21 is on the CD Rare Tracks and Track 22 is in the CD Perfect Complete Collection vol.1)
Rex Stewart, Taft Jordan, Shelton Hemphill, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance(t) Lawrence Brown, Claude Jones, Joe Nanton(tb) Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick(as) Jimmy Hamilton(cl)(ts) Al Sears(ts) Harry Carney(bs) Billy Strayhorn(p) Fred Guy(g) Junior Raglin(b) Hillard Brown(d) Billie Holiday(v)

California Philharmonic Auditorium, “Esquire” magazine Second Annual Jazz Concert

(LR 21) Lover Man
Unissued in vinyl.
(LR 22) I Cover The Waterfront * – the second part of the show was broadcast. There Billie received  the Best Female Award from 1944 and performed this song just after it.
Original LP LDC 1009 2nd Esquire Jazz Concert (US 1975). Sound not available.

“Esquire” is a magazine for men, founded in 1933 by the Hearst Corporation.

Live session #15 [live recording] New York 12/February/1945  Jazz At The Philharmonic (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.1 or The Complete BH on Verve vol.1)
Howard McGhee (t) unknown (tb) Willie Smith (as) Illinois Jacquet, Wardell Gray and/or Charly Ventura (ts) Milt Raskin(?) (p) Dave Barbour? (g) Charles Mingus (b) Dave Coleman (d) Billie Holiday (v)

45-02-18_JATP_LA@The Jazz at the Philharmonic Concert, on California Philharmonic Auditorium, was partially recorded.

(LR 23) Body And Soul **
(LR 24) Strange Fruit 

Image from the original 10″ LP Clef MGC – 169A “Billy” Holiday at JATP  (US 1956). Click here to listen.


Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) was the title of a series of concerts produced by Norman Granz (see note on session #8). The first concert was held in 1944 in Los Angeles. After a few more similar concerts in LA, Granz began producing annual tours in 1946. Granz recorded many of these concerts and leased them to Mercury Records and later to his own labels, Clef and Verve. JATP ceased touring the United States in 1957.

Some of Billie performances at JATP can be found in the CD Jazz At The Philharmonic (The Billie Holiday Story vol.1) ( see discography)

In October, Sadie, Billie’s mother, 50, is hospitalized and passed away on the 6th.

Live session #16 [radio broadcast] New York 15/December/1945  Hot Lips Page and his Band (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.1 &  in  BH at Stratford ’57 & Masters of Jazz vol.3)
Hot Lips Page (t), Ram Ramirez (p), others unknown, Billie Holiday (v)

WMCA broadcast

(LR 25) Fine And Mellow
(LR 26) All Of Me

Original LP Jazz Archives JA-17 Hot Lips Page Plays the Blues in “B” (France 1974). Sound not available.

© www.billieholidaysongs.com February 2017


4 thoughts on “1945 sessions

  1. Could you please put the year of release beside the song title. I understand it is a lot of work but I’m working on programs for a radio station I hope to air in the next few years and it would be so appreciated because this site is really a wonderful tribute to Lady Day. It would just be helpful for me.
    Thanks Shaba

    • Dear Shaba, I unfortunately do not have the record’s release dates in my database. As a suggestion, you could mention the recording dates instead, which are shown in the site. Regards, Paulo

  2. I apologize for that. I am French and my English is not very good.

    In 1945, Billie Holiday received the Esquire Award.
    There is a recording … but it is not from January 1, 1945, but from January 17, 1945.
    Why do you say January 1?

    I wonder about the number of titles that Billie Holiday interpreted on the occasion of the award ceremony.
    Following the delivery, she performed “I cover the waterfront”. That’s for sure.

    On the other hand, I have doubts about “Lover man”. I have read a lot and this is the second time I have read this information.

    Is the referenced title (LR21) a record from the date of January 17, 1945?
    I have a real doubt.

    Thank you for your clarification and for the quality of your site.

    • You are more than right, there was a typo here and the date is for sure the 17th. I have already made the correction, thank you for that. There are two parts of the show. In the first, she joins Ellington Orchestra and sings “Lover Man”. The second part was broadcast, where Billie received the Best Female Vocalist of 1944 and sings “I Cover the Waterfront”.
      By the way, English is not my mother language as well.
      All the best,

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