1951 sessions


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the beginning of 1951, Billie learned that Decca would not renew her contract and therefore she signed with Aladdin a one-year contract. Under this agreement, she would actually record only one session.

The label Aladdin was founded in 1944 by Eddie and Leo Mesner, originally under the name “Philo” to be changed in 1946. Its catalog ranged from Rhythm & Blues to Gospel and Jazz.

Session #66 New York 29/April/1951 Tiny Grimes Sextet (CD: Billie’s Blues tk. 11-14)
Tiny Grimes (g) Heywood Henry (ts)(bs) Bobby Tucker (p) Unknown (b) & (d) Billie Holiday (v); (other sources mention Carl Drinkard at he piano).

In this sole session for Aladdin, two tracks were blues, a genre that, despite being know as “The Queen of the Blues” Billie recorded less than ten tracks along her career.

(MT 215) Blue Turning Grey Over You * a less known composition by Fats Waller & Andy Razaf. It’s a pleasant song, in spite of the lousy sound quality.

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

(MT 216) Be Fair With Me Baby – (blues)

(MT 217) Rocky Mountain Blues – (blues)

(MT 218) Detour Ahead



Live Session #32A [TV show] Philadelphia, 30/January/1951 The Frank Brookhouser Show WFIL-TV. (CD: two tracks are  in the double CD Billie Holiday Banned From NYC).

Carl Drinkard (p) Billie Holiday (v)

(LR 72A) Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)
(LR 72B) Misss Brown to You

Previously unissued in vinyl.

Live Session #33 [radio broadcast] Boston, 28/October to 4/November/1951 Storyville Club, in the Copley Square Hotel in Boston, shared with Stan Getz Band. (CD: All tracks are  in the box Perfect Complete Collection vol.4, with the exception of #76, included in the CD Lady Day Live).

This was a one-week engagement at George Wein’s Storyville Club.  The opening day was October 28th and Nat Hentoff was the announcer. In the first track, we can hear Nat introducing Billie Holiday and announcing her first song, He’s Funny That Way. Three songs opened the show. After that, Stan Getz joined the band playing his tenor sax for more four songs, still announced by Nat. That’s why I dated this seven songs as the ones in the first day. In all other tracks Nat is not heard anymore.

51-10-28_storyville@ Billie at Storyville Club

October 28

Buster Harding (p) John Fields (b) Marquis Foster (d) Billie Holiday (v) Nat Henthoff (announcer)

(LR 73) He’s Funny That Way * (LP ESP The Lady Lives)
(LR 74) Billie’s Blues (LP DALE Billie and Stan)
(LR 75) Them There Eyes (LP Monmouth Galant Lady)


Plus Stan Getz (ts)

(LR 76) Detour Ahead (unissued in vinyl)
(LR 77) You’re Driving Me Crazy (LP Monmouth Galant Lady)
(LR 78) Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do * (LP Billie Holiday at Storyville)
(LR 79) Lover Come Back To Me (LP Billie Holiday at Storyville)


October /November:  in the following days some songs have also being recorded:

Buster Harding (p) John Fields (b) Marquis Foster (d) Billie Holiday

(LR 80) Miss Brown to You (LP ESP The Lady Lives)

(LR 81) Billie’s Blues (LP Monmouth Galant Lady)
(LR 82) Lover Man *
(LR 83) My Man *
(LR 84) I Cover The Waterfront
(LR 85) Crazy He Calls Me *
(LR 86) Lover Come Back To Me *
(LR 87) Detour Ahead
(LR 88) Strange Fruit
(LR 89) Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do *
(LR 90) All Of Me
(LR 91) Porgy 
(LR 92) Miss Brown To You

Images of original Long Playing:

LP Monmouth Evergreen MES 7046 Gallant Lady (US 1973). Sound not available.

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

LP DALE LP25 Billie and Stan (US 1951). Sound not available.

LP Storyville PA 3113 BH at Storyville (Denmark 1976). Sound not available.


downbeat magazineDown Beat magazine reports: “A new Lady Day calmly conquered the jazz-oriented citizenry of Boston in the course of a rewardingly succesful week. BH, singing better than anyone here had heard her in the last few years, demonstrate a new sense of responsibility and co-operativeness. As a result she made every set on time and even volunteered an extra set some nights for the WMEX wire from the club”.

z_george_weinGeorge Wein (1925 – ) founded his first Storyville Club on late 40s, moving to several locations in Boston. This time, in the Copley Square Hotel. He also organized famous festivals like The Newport Jazz. Billie had other two sessions recorded at Storyville:  in 1953 (see LR #36) and 1959 (see LR #67) – this to be remembered as her last presentation.


Nathan Irving “Nat” Hentoff (June 10, 1925 – January 7, 2017) was an American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic. Great fan of Jazz, it is said in his last days he spent a lot of time hearing Billie’s old successes. (At left; foto 1948 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/nyregion/nat-hentoff-dead.html)


© www.billieholidaysongs.com February 2017

2 thoughts on “1951 sessions

  1. Hi Paulo,
    I haven’t commented before but here’s something I was wondering about. Billie appeared on a Philidelphia TV show on January, 30, 1951 in which she sang Lover Man and Miss Brown to You with Carl Drinkard accompanying. The recording of this performance was included on the Banned from New York City, Live 1948 to 1957 compilation, issued by the Uptown label in 2015. To my knowledge, it has not been issued on any other commercially available release. It’s not referenced on either this site or the BHD site. But maybe you’re familiar with it. The Uptown compilation is worth having not least because it also includes a live performance at the Hi-Hat in Boston from 1954 that’s not been issued anywhere else or included on any Billie Holiday discography that I am aware of.

    • Dear Eric
      Great news, I really did not know this CD. As soon as I get back from my trip, I’ll look for it. Let’s stay in touch. Thank you.

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