1950 sessions


Session #65 Los Angeles 08/March/1950 Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra (CD: Complete Decca vol.2, tk 23 & 24)
Dick ‘Dent’ Eckles (fl)(ts) Charles LaVere (p) ‘Bob’ Bain (g) Lou Butterman (b) Nick Fatool (d) Billie Holiday (v) The Gordon Jenkins Singer chorus + 4 Strings

This is the last recording session for Decca, this turn in their LA studios. This was the second time Billie would record in that city. Similarly of what happened with ARC – Columbia, this farewell session has nothing to long for. Gordon Jenkins probably tried to transform “God Bless” into an anthem and programmed a choir to back her, with lousy results, in my opinion. It is a pity, because Billie’s voice is perfect. Gabler was absent and did not produce the session; later he declared he would arrange it diversely. But he hadn’t the opportunity, because he didn’t produce for Billie anymore.

(MT 213) God Bless The Child – this is a Billie composition she would record three times: for Columbia, then for Decca and, later, for Verve. Out of them, this is the only one not to deserve a star. In her book, Billie stated that her inspiration was a quarrel with her mother. The image below is from the original 78rpm disk. Click here to listen.

(MT 214) This Is Heaven To Me – an unknown song with an arrangement even worse.


Live session #30 [radio broadcast] New York 24/May/1950 Nono Morales Band (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.4)
Unknown Personnel, Billie Holiday (v)

The Amateur Hour at the Apollo Theatre, Harlem.  Broadcast by WMCA.

(LR 68) You’re My Thrill

Original LP ESP-3002 The Lady Lives (US 1972). Sound not available.


Nono Morales was a Cuban bandleader and composer. The amateur night was an institution at the Apollo Theater every Wednesday. At 11pm, the Amateur Hour starts, and it was frequently broadcast. Not to confuse with The Original Amateur Hour, a radio program in the 30s and 40s and later on television.

Live session #31 [film] Hollywood 19/August/1950 Count Basie and his Sextet (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.4)
Clark Terry (t) Buddy DeFranco (cl) Wardell Gray (ts) Count Basie (p) Freddie Green (g) Jimmy Lewis (b) Gus Johnson (d) BH (v)

(LR 69) God Bless The Child

(LR 70) Now or Never

Original LP Giants of Jazz GOJ 1001 I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone (US 1975). Click here to listen

The session is part of a musical short movie featuring Count Basie, Billie Holiday and Sugar Chile Robinson, shot at the Universal Studios in Hollywood. The two songs do not deserve any special comments.



Live session #32 [live recording] Los Angeles 25/September/1950  Lee Young  Band (CD: Perfect Complete Collection vol.4)
Parr Jones (t) Maxwell Davis (ts) Dudley Brooks (p) Bill Hadnott (b) Lee Young (d) Billie Holiday (v)

The session – with two known tracks – was probably (privately) recorded in the Oasis Bar in Los Angeles.

(LR 71) You Got to Show Me – a Billie Holiday composition; she never recorded it in studio (actually, this is the sole known rendition of this song).
(LR 72) Crazy He Calls Me


Both tracks unissued in vinyl.

© www.billieholidaysongs.com February 2017

6 thoughts on “1950 sessions

  1. Wonderful website, a lot of work gone into that for sure. I can add something. My record collection includes, both on CD and DVD, the two tracks from the short film Billie did with the Count Basie group in 1950. Recently one of the tracks was played on BBC radio and Marshal Royal was said to be the clarinet player. I checked my books, and the internet, searching for photos and in one of my own books found a photo of Buddy DeFranco at a recording session in 1949 and one of Marshal Royal with the Basie band in the early 60’s. The pictures show the latter to be the clarinet player on that film.

    Best wishes

    • Dear Michael,
      thank you for your compliments, actually it has been a lot of work. But worth it.
      Regarding to your comment, you are partially right. I also have the propaganda picture and indeed is Marshall Royal that shows in it. But in the picture legend itself describing the sextet it is also mentioned that HE WAS NOT in the soundtrack. That’s probably the origin of this confusion.
      Marshall Royal actually played just once with Billie, and this was in the film “Symphony in Black” with Duke Ellington group in 1935.
      Thank you for your contact. Keep in touch!

  2. Dear Paulo,
    thank you for that information. Excuse my confusion but does that mean that the band appearing in the film were not actually playing and the soundtrack was dubbed.
    I have compiled a Billie Holiday discography, just of my own records and discs, and do try to get everything as accurate as possible.
    This site, only just discovered, as been quite helpful.

    • Dear Michael,
      there´s nothing to excuse. Motion pictures are a different field. Maybe even seeing the actual film we could not say that the soundtrack was made with the same personnel. In this case, we have to to trust in the official musician list published with the soundtrack.
      And, again, thanks for the compliments. Enjoy.

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